This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: Christian (Page 1 of 14)

David’s Digest: The Pit (of Hell) and the Pendulum

I believe one of Satan’s clever tools is the pendulum swing. Suppose one believes a certain doctrine, and then they discover the true doctrine that shows their current doctrine to be false. Now, because he couldn’t stop them from learning about the truth, and at this point also not able to keep them from believing it, he says, “Oh, yeah, you’re right! That old doctrine sure was false! Now move on into this true doctrine…that’s it…and…….keep going”, whereby he helps them along past the true nature or meaning or degree of the true doctrine to a place the Bible never intended regarding it, and thus has got that person basically again, believing something false.

For example, someone learns biblical truths from someone or a group of people perhaps, and the later finds out that person or those people are incorrect about other things, and so Satan comes along and says,

“Look at the people who gave you this idea…wow, are they wrong about those other things, so this thing they led you to, it must be wrong too…you need to run far from this!

and so the person decides to reject everything they learned from these other people, even though the original belief was true, and you end up with the proverbial “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” scenario. This is why it’s important to study the Bible and let it be our guide in all matters of truth, not just what someone might say.

Another example might be the following: a person might come to believe in the doctrines of grace, whereby man has no ability to come to God of his own, unless the Father draw him. This would be against a free-will theology that declares man has an absolute free will to decide to choose God and spiritual things. So, they reject that idea, and adopt the doctrines of grace into their belief system.

So far so good. But then, the devil whispers,

“Hey, if God is sovereign over everything, then everything is set in stone, so, honestly, there sure seems no real good reason to pray or try to witness to anyone. I mean, either God’s going to save them or not, and there’s nothing you can really do, no?”

Or, “Well, now that you’re saved and can’t lose your salvation, why all the fuss about trying to live a holy life? You’re already going to heaven, right?”

Or, “Since all graces come from Christ, they aren’t really yours, so there’s no real need to ask for them to be continued, increased, or for help with them. I mean, there’s nothing you can really do anyway, because they’re not your graces, they’re His, and this would end up making your salvation works based, yes?”

which can lead to believe falsehoods and losing any kind of efforts toward actual holy Christian living, or working by using means (prayer, Bible study, etc.) to grow in grace (as commanded in 2 Peter 3:18).

Or he might tempt the other way,

“Now that you have the TRUTH, everyone needs to know this! You need to make sure and get out there, and make sure everyone knows the truth. It doesn’t matter what they say back, just don’t let them dance around it…make sure you stand up and fight against them with the TRUTH!”

Or, “Oh, these people are just so blind! Just so ignorant sheep! You don’t have time for such weak people! Tell them to get away from you, they’re not worth your time!”

which leads to a self-righteous, condemning, impatient, un-loving, horrible manner toward people — a terrible attitude that I believe besmirches Christ’s name and example, and can end up actually hindering someone from learning the truth. And I know, because this is a path I have sadly tread in the past, to a degree, although I have tried to apologize as I’ve been able.

Another example might be modest dress. A woman decides she should dress modestly as she believes the Bible would have, but in a very strict way, especially because of how immodest she sees the culture around her, including no patterns, one solid color, dresses down to the ankles, all of which in themselves is not unbiblical. And the woman believes that everyone around her should dress that strictly, and tells them that it’s not right for them to not do so.

But then Satan might say,

“Oh, look how extreme that is…you’re under such bondage! Throw off those chains!”

Or, “Oh, that’s all under the law — you’re under grace now, so, really, you’re free from obeying those things in the Bible now, as long as you’re not committing adultery or some such, wouldn’t you reason so?”

Or, “Is that much modesty really necessary? I mean, one solid color? Two colors isn’t ok? Dressed down to the middle of the calves isn’t ok? Aren’t you being a little overboard?”

and then she comes to agree with one or more of those, such as it was a little extreme, and that she should back off from the degree at least some but still being biblical, and that the degree of modesty could be a doubtful disputation Paul discusses in Romans 14:1-6.

But, in her journey away from one color and dresses to the ankles, the devil prompts again,

“Well look, all this modest dress only brought you such horrid bondage…anything close to that is just the same thing. Plus, look at everyone else around you. There’s no harm in changing a little more, right?

And then a year later, “Still too much bondage, and remember how extreme and condemning of others you were before. And, it’s only a little bit away from where you are now…and that skirt is just so cute, don’t you think? It’s just a little more anyway, no?

And then another year later, “Oh, it’s just a little step away from where you are now. After all, it’s only showing your arms, and men aren’t standing there staring at that part of the body, yes?

so that after even many years of this compromise, and even the temptations of vanity as well, the woman ends up in form-fitting jeans or shorts and tank tops, and is essentially dressing like she used to or worse, immodestly, and in concert with how the world defines (in their ungodliness) modesty. And while this is more of a slippery slope issue, it can start with the fact that the pendulum of an absolutism in the issue was perhaps initially swung too far, even in the right direction.

In these things, Satan’s just fine with it all, because he’s got the person off center, veered away from the actual path of truth that lies between the extremes. If he can keep someone there, it doesn’t matter to him, because in the end, he’s still got them off the narrow path of truth.

And as noted in the above scenario, this can occur over a very long period of time, where each step is almost not noticeable from the last step taken.

It’s difficult to not let this happen, especially if emotions or the like are involved in the initial discovery of being too far to one side. Our carnal self jumps in, and we can overreact, and throw out any doctrine or life-belief we might have once held, even strongly.

However, I believe we must be diligent and on the lookout for, what I believe is, a wile of the devil. It’s a difficult path, but graciously, the Lord has provided His Word to us, which we must continuously study, asking Him for direction and guidance in all things, and to keep us on the path of truth and obedience:

Psa 119:105 – “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Deut 5:32 – “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

Prov 4:27 – “Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

And I believe with God’s help as He directs us, we must maintain that journey on the narrow path, regardless of the devil’s lies and the world’s pull to godlessness:

Luke 9:62 – “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

May God grant us to study His Word diligently, the application of His Word to our heart and minds by His Spirit, and the courage and strength to live out His laws and statutes.

— David

David’s Digest: Walk Worthy of Your Calling

Jude 1 - "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"

God’s people are “called”:

Romans 1:6 - "Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:"

Ephesians 4:1 - "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation [calling] wherewith ye are called,"

2 Thessalonians 1:11 - "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:"

2 Timothy 1:9 - "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"

2 Peter 1:10 - "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

But what does this calling look like? How do we evidence we are actually “called” ones, and thus actually one of God’s people?

Puritan Thomas Manton examines several ways, but below is one way that I believe is extra important in our day. It comes from his excellent commentary on the Epistle of Jude.

You can listen to all of verse 1 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 5 near the bottom…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 1. — Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

5. It may be evidenced by the fruits and effects of a call; the call infers a change of the former estate, both in heart and life.

[2.] In the life there will be a change; men will walk worthy their calling, not disgracing it by scandals or unseemly practices: Eph. iv. 1, ‘I beseech you, brethren, walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called;’ that is, suitable to the purity, suitable to the dignity of it. When David was a shepherd, he thought of nothing else but keeping his father’s sheep; but when God called him to be a shepherd of the people, then he had other projects, and was of other manner of behaviour.

A new calling requires a new conversation [behavior of life]: so 1 Thes. ii. 12, ‘Walk worthy of God, who hath called you to his kingdom and his glory.’ The divine calling puts an honour upon you: it is not for princes to ‘embrace the dung,’ nor for eagles to catch flies; to be vain [showy, empty, useless for God], voluptuous [given to the enjoyments of luxury and pleasure], carnal, and worldly, as others are: you are called to the fellowship of saints and angels; will it become one of your hopes to drive on such a low design as a worldly interest?

If you saw a man labouring in filthy ditches, and soiling himself as poor men do, would you believe that he were heir-apparent to a crown, called to inherit a kingdom? Who will believe your calling when you stick in the mud of pleasures, and are carried on with such a zealous respect after secular interests?

The apostle reproves the Corinthians for ‘walking as men,’ 1 Cor. iii. 3. Some walk as beasts, others are of a more civil strain; but this is but as men: you should walk more sublimely [high in excellence], above the ordinary rate of flesh and blood. When Antigonus was going into the house of a harlot, one told him, Thou art a king’s son. Oh! remember your dignity, and walk worthy of your high calling; walk as having the world under your feet, with a holy scorn and contempt of sublunary [earthly, pertaining to this world] enjoyments.

And as you should walk worthy of the dignity of your calling, so of the purity of it: ‘He that hath called you is holy,’ 1 Peter i. 15; and your condition is a ‘holy calling,’ 2 Tim. i. 9; and the end of your calling is holiness: 1 Thes. iv. 7, ‘God hath called us unto holiness.’ All which are so many engagements to urge us to the more care. A filthy, loose conversation [behavior of life] will never suit with this calling; you are a shame and a stain to him that calls you if you walk thus: as some in the prophet are said to pollute God, Ezek. xxxi. 9, namely, as their pollutions were retorted upon God.

Someone who takes the name of Christ upon themselves is required to live a different life than the rest of the world. Holiness not only means separate but pure, and it’s not any separation or purity, but God’s separation and purity, His holiness — our holiness should be godliness, and this should encompass every area of our life, at all times in our lives, in some fashion.

Are the things of the world around us, especially entertainments and the like, and how we spend our time, part of the holiness of God, which is perfect and absolute purity?

Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

1 John 2:15 - "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

And we have a God-given duty to work on these things, with the help and strength of the Holy Spirit:

Romans 8:13 - "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye [us, our work] through the Spirit [with His help and strength] do mortify [our duty to labor to perform] the deeds of the body [the carnal, sinful man], ye shall live [if you actually work to do this, with the Spirit's help and strength]."

Colossians 3:5 - "Mortify [a command of duty for us to perform] therefore your members which are upon the earth..."

May God give us a holy desire to be obedient to Him in all areas of our lives, and may He grant us a desire and help by His Spirit to think on the things of Him, and His blessed Son Christ Jesus, the most lovely of all, and to put away (mortify) the things of the world, especially those which might be most pleasing to our carnal man, and may we do all these things to not be a reproach on the Lord Jesus’ name, and out of love to Him who has betrothed us and whose name we have taken upon ourselves.

— David

David’s Digest: Of Being Christ’s Servant

Jude 1 - "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"

Jude here calls himself a servant of Christ. And I think most who claim Christ’s name themselves would call themselves the same.

But what does being a servant of Christ look like?

Puritan Thomas Manton explores this briefly near the beginning of his excellent commentary on the Epistle of Jude, which we present to you below.

You can listen to all of verse 1 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 5 near the bottom…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 1. — Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Obs. 2. Observe, again, his relation to Christ is expressed by service; as he describes himself to be James’s brother, so Christ’s servant; by that means he was entitled to Christ; if we would be Christ’s we must do his will: our relation arises from service, John xii. 26. Therefore I shall here take occasion to show you what it is to be Christ’s servants.

(1.) Whoever is Christ’s servant must resign and give up himself wholly to the will of Christ; for he that is Christ’s servant, he is so by covenant and consecration. We are indeed Christ’s by all kind of rights and titles; ‘he made us, and not we ourselves;’ no creature is of itself, and therefore it is not its own, but another’s. It is God’s prerogative alone to love Himself and seek Himself, because He alone is without obligation and dependence; but we owe ourselves to Him, and therefore cannot without robbery call ourselves our own. Your tongues are not your own to speak what you please, Ps. xii. 4, nor your hearts your own to think what you please, nor your hands your own to do what you please; by virtue of your creation you are another’s, and are bound to live and act for another, according to His will, for his glory.

But this is not all; by redemption you are Christ’s: ‘Ye are bought with a price,’ 1 Cor. vi. 20, as the redeemed are bound to serve Him that ransomed them. If a man had bought another out of captivity, or he had sold himself, all his strength or service belonged to the buyer. Christ has bought us from the worst slavery, and with the greatest price; no thraldom so bad as bondage to sin and Satan, no prison so black as hell; and certainly Christ’s blood is better than a little money. So that to live as if we were at our own disposal is to defraud Christ of his purchase.

Thus we are Christ’s by creation and redemption; but now, if we would be his servants, we must be His by voluntary contract and spiritual resignation: ‘Yield up yourselves,’ etc., Rom. vi. 13. Christ loves to have his right and title established by our own consent. We take Christ for lord and master, and give up ourselves to Him, that we may be no longer at our own disposal, and therefore it is not only robbery, but treachery and breach of covenant to seek ourselves in anything. This resignation must be made out of a sense of Christ’s love to us in his death and sufferings: 2 Cor. v. 15, Christ died, ‘that they which live should not henceforth live to themselves, but unto him that died for them.’ We enter upon other services out of hopes, but we enter upon Christ’s service out of thankfulness.

Again, this resignation must be universal, without reservation of any part. You must have no other master but God: Mat. vi. 24, ‘Ye cannot serve two masters, ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ Usually men divide themselves between God and the world; they would give their consciences to Christ, and their hearts to mammon. The devil pleads for a part, for by that means he knows that the whole [all of the person] will fall to his share; therefore all, the whole man, in vow, purpose, and resolution, must be given up to God.

(2.) Having given up yourselves to God’s service, you must walk as his servants; that is, not as you list [want/desire], but as the Master pleases. The angels are God’s ministers, ‘doing his pleasure,’ Ps. ciii. 21. A servant has no will of his own, but has given up his liberty to the directions and commands of another; therefore, if you be God’s servants, you must earnestly desire the knowledge of his will, and readily comply with it; you must not do things as they please self and flesh, but as they please God. David begs for knowledge as God’s servant: Ps. cxix. 125, ‘I am thy servant, grant me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.’ A faithful servant would not willingly offend his master, and therefore would fain [gladly] know what is His will. They plead with God, and search themselves, Rom. xii. 2, and all to know His pleasure; and not only to know it, but to do it, otherwise they are worthy of many stripes by Christ’s own sentence.

The master’s will should be motive enough, 1 Thes. iv. 3, v. 13; 1 Peter ii. 15. If God will have it so, if Jesus Christ will have it so, it is enough to a faithful servant. The very signification of God’s will carries with it reason enough to enforce the practice of it.

Yea, you must equally comply with every will of God, not only with the easy and pleasant ways of obedience, but such as cross lusts [generally any corrupt desires of the heart] and interests. When two men go together, a man cannot tell whom the servant follows till they part. When God and our lusts or our interests command contrary things, then you are put to the trial whether you are God’s servants.

May we seek God for, and may He grant us, this desire to know and do His will, in every area of our lives, recognizing that we are not our own at all, by creation and by the redemption found in His blessed Son Christ Jesus….and may we truly say, our Lord!

— David

David’s Digest: Of Christian Patience

James 5:7 - "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."

What does godly patience look like?

In Puritan Thomas Manton’s work “A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James”, he examines this closer in looking at the beginning of the above verse.

You can listen to all of verse 15 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=405, and this section starts on PDF page 405 (in the print, page 3860), or you can get it in other formats here

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – James Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 7. — Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord: behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain.

He now diverts from the rich oppressors, unto the poor faithful brethren that were oppressed. By the illative particle “therefore” we may see the former paragraph was for their sakes. The rich men shall be punished for their wickedness and oppression ; therefore, be you patient.

Be patient, therefore, brethren, [Greek word]. The word is put for long-suffering, and so usually translated, which is a further degree of patience; for patience is a sense of afflictions without murmuring, and of injuries without revenge. Now, long-suffering is patience extended, and lengthened out to that which our apostle calls its perfect work. Observe:

Obs. It is the duty of the children of God to be patient under their sufferings, though they be long and sharp. It is easier in a calm and sedate condition to discourse of patience, than to exercise it in time of trial. Philosophers have discoursed of it, and commended it ; but Christians themselves have staggered, when they have been exercised with a sharp sense of evils.

When God gives up his people to the lust [generally, any corrupt desire of the heart] of adversaries, then it is sad, and we are apt to murmur; and yet the apostle says, we should suffer with a long patience. I shall spare motives, and a little show you what Christian patience is.

It differs from security and stoical insensibleness [just ignoring it, burying the emotions, etc.]; there can be no patience where there is no sense of evil [of our own sin, temptations to sin under difficulties, etc.]. Christianity does not abrogate affections, but regulate them. Carnal men put off [for later] that which they cannot put away, and are not patient but stupid [like being in a stupor] and careless. There are other remedies in Christianity than quenching our sorrows in the wine [literal and metaphorical] of pleasures.

Again, it differs from moral patience, which is nothing but a yielding to necessity [they go with it because they cannot do anything about it], and is usually accompanied with vain [useless] thoughts (Jer. iv. 14), and carnal workings of spirit. When God lays on crosses, men please themselves with suppositions of worldly profit, and how their present condition may conduce to secular advancement; as when God takes away wife or children, men do not think of submission to the hand of God, but the capacity of augmenting their worldly estate, &c.

In short. Christian patience supposes a sense of evil, and then in the formality of it, it is a submission of the whole soul to the will of God. Wherein observe,

(1.) The nature; it is a submission of the whole soul. The judgment subscribes, “Good is the word of the Lord,” &c. (Isa. xxxix. 9.) Though it were to him a terrible word, yet the submission of a sanctified judgment can call it good. Then the will accepts, “If they shall accept the punishment” (Lev. xxvi. 4) ; that is, take it kindly from God that it is no worse. Then the affections are restrained, and anger and sorrow brought under the commands of the word. Then the tongue is bridled, lest discontent plash [splash] over; Aaron held his peace, (Lev. x. 3).

(2.) Consider the grounds and proper considerations upon which all this is carried on. Usually there is such a progress as this in the spiritual discourse:

(1st.) The soul sees God in it : “I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it” (Psa. xxxix. 9).

(2nd.) It sees God acting with sovereignty : “None can say unto him; What dost thou?” (Job. ix. 12.) And elsewhere, “He giveth no account of his matters.”

(3rd.) Lest this should make the heart storm [with fury], it sees sovereignty modified and mitigated in the dispensation of it with several attributes:

  • With justice:

    (Deut. xxvii. 26), When every curse was pronounced, they were to say Amen that if it come to pass ; Amen is but a righteous dispensation.

  • With mercy:

    “Thou hast punished us less than we deserved” (Esra. ix. 13). They were afflicted, they might have been destroyed; they were in Babylon, they might have been in hell.

  • With faithfulness:

    They look upon afflictions as federal dispensations, as appendages of the covenant of grace; “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might keep thy statutes” (Psa. cxix. 71). When they are threshed, it is but to lose their stalks and husks ; God’s faithfulness would not suffer [allow] them to want [want] such a sweet help.

  • With wisdom:

    God is a God of judgment (Isa, xxx. 18) ; it is meant in his dispensations. Let God alone, he is too just to do us wrong, and too kind and wise to do us harm.

May God grant us a desire for this patience, may we seek Him daily for it, and may He graciously grant us it so we can live properly as unto Him!

— David

David’s Digest: Do We Have Our Own Gourd?

Jonah 4:5-11:

5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

As I read this recently, something struck me: This temporary thing made Jonah “exceeding glad.” Is there something in my life that I think is missing that would make me “exceeding glad”? Or rather what came to mind personally, is there something in my life that I wish wasn’t, and that being gone would make me “exceeding glad”?

Do I have my own form of “Jonah’s Gourd”?

Do we truly trust God in His providences in our lives, especially in the difficult times of trial and affliction? Do we do well to be angry at God for them, or the lack of something we think we should have?

Or better, do we thank the Lord for these things, or the lack of something we think we should have, in our lives, as the guiding hand of a loving Father?

1 Thess 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Heb 12:8 – “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

And then, what does the Bible say should make us “exceeding glad”?

First and foremost, the Lord Himself:

Psalm 21:6 – “For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

But further, not only thankful for His afflicting hand but:

Matt 5:11-12 – “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 Pet 4:12-13 – “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

And so, there we have it…it’s the trial and afflictions themselves that are to make us “exceeding glad”, not some temporal thing in our lives, or difficulties being removed. In fact, removing them might not only be evidence of losing the loving chastisement of a Father that makes us better followers of Him, but also the losing of the thing itself in which we are to be exceeding glad!

May the Lord Christ Himself be our greatest joy! And then, may His trials and afflictions, in the not having things we think we want, or the not removing of things we want removed, make us exceeding glad, and always thankful!

— David

David’s Digest: A Mark of a True Child of God

While reading through Matthew 5 recently, something stuck out to me more this time.

Verse 9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Only Christ can make peace between God and us, but, as Puritan commentator John Gill suggests, this is:

between men and men; and such are they, who are of peaceable dispositions themselves; live peaceably with all men, and with one another, as their relation obliges to, and their mutual comfort requires; and with the men of the world; and who are ready, willing, and very serviceable, in composing differences, and making peace between their fellow creatures and fellow Christians.

And if we are peacemakers, that doesn’t merit our being God’s children: the merit to be adopted into God’s family is only through Christ.

But is there more?

Continuing in Matthew 5, specifically verses 43 to 48, I’ll go through them here with some formatting to add a little emphasis:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you:

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • And pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

But, why?

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven!

Wow! Only God adopting us into His family actually makes us His children, but we evidence we are truly His children when we do these things. How is this so?

For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

So, we’re to do something similar, by loving, blessing, doing good and praying for those who hate us and despitefully use us. This is just as God brings the sun to shine and rain to fall on the ungodly.

And here’s more for the argument:

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Even the ungodly do good to their friends, so if that’s all we do, how are we any different from the ungodly?

And the final statement:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We cannot be “perfect” as God is in degree, but “perfect” here is in likeness, or “as close to God in this characteristic as possible”.

Children are reflections of their parents, and so to be that Christian reflection of God, and thus show we are a child of His, we must do these good things (praying for, doing good, etc.) to those who treat us very poorly!

I would suggest, too, that the vice-versa is implied: if we are not willing to do, or are indifferent about, these things, that it is quite possible that evidences we might not be God’s children, regardless of what we might say. I believe we must seriously consider this.

Now, all this is an impossible order under our own spiritual strength, but:

Philippians 4:11-13 – “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

And after all, shouldn’t we imitate our Lord Christ Jesus as well?

Romans 5:6-8 – “6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

and

Luke 23:34 – “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Christ died for the ungodly, for sinners, and He prayed for those involved with killing Him, also showing, I would offer, an example of being a child of His Father.

Let us earnestly and slowly consider the marks and required actions of a true child of God one more time:

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • And pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

May we ask God for, and may He grant us, the desires, and these graces themselves, to be like Him, to all of those around us, even those who might abuse or wrong us, going even farther than just not retaliating, in Christian love, motivated by love to Him!

— David

David’s Digest: What Does It Mean to Submit All Our Actions to God’s Will?

James 4:15 – “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

At what depth should our wills in the actions of our lives be submitted to our God if we claim Him to be so? What does it mean to truly submit our lives in what we do to Him?

Puritan Thomas Manton in his superb work “A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James” takes a deep and detailed look into what it means to submit the actions of our lives to God.

You can listen to all of verse 15 here:

 


or download it:
Download

 

The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=375, and this section starts on PDF page 379 (in the print, page 360), or you can get it in other formats here

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Manton – James Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 15. – For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Observation. All our undertakings must be referred to the will of God; not only sacred, but civil actions. Our journeys must not be undertaken without asking his leave; as Jacob, “O Lord God of Abraham thy servant, send me good speed this day” (Gen. xxviii. 20, and xxiv. 12). No wonder, if this be neglected, that you meet with so many cross accidents; they do not come from your hard luck, but your profane neglect.

But what is it to submit all our actions to the will of God? I answer,

1. To measure all our actions by his revealed will [the Bible], that is the rule of duty. We can look for no blessing but upon those ways that suit with it. There must be a submission to his secret will, but first a conformity to his revealed will. Lust [generally, any corrupt desire of the heart] has its wills (Eph. ii. 2); but we are to serve the will of God till we fall asleep (Acts xiii 36).

2. We must the more comfortably undertake any action, when we see God in it. Acts xvi. 10, he gathered that God had called him to Macedonia: so, when we see God in the sweet means and course of his providence, or by inward instinct guiding and leading us, we may with more encouragement walk in the way that he hath opened to us.

3. When in our desires and requests we do not [try to] bind [constrain] the counsels of God; [we should say] “Not my will, but thine be done” (Matt. xxvi. 39). In temporal things we must submit to God’s will both for the mercy, the means, and time of attainment. Creatures that cannot ascribe to themselves, must not prescribe to God, and give laws to Providence, but must be content to want [lack], or have, as the Lord pleases. If any thing succeed not well, the Lord would not [wills it not to be]; that is enough to silence all discontents [discontentment].

4. We must constantly ask his leave in prayer, as before was urged.

5. We must still reserve the power of God’s providence. If the Lord will. If the Lord permit: God would not have us too carnally confident; it is good to inure the soul to changes. Two things we should often consider to this purpose, and they are both in the text:

(1st.) The sovereignty and dominion of Providence: the Lord can blast your enterprise, though managed with never so much wisdom and contrivance [of our own]; he can nip it in the bud, or check it in the very article of execution: and I have observed, that usually God is very tender of his honour in this point, and usually frustrates proud men that boast of what they will do, and conceive unlimited purposes, without any thought of the check they may receive in Providence.

It is a flower of the imperial crown of heaven, and the bridle that God hath upon the reasonable creature, to dispose of the success of human affairs; therefore herein God will be acknowledged: “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. xvi. 9). Man designs, but the execution depends wholly upon God’s will and providence.

In peremptory resolutions there is a contest between us and Heaven about will and power; therefore, in such cases, the answer of Providence is more express and decisive to the creature’s loss, that God may be acknowledged as Lord of success, and the first mover in all means and causes, without whom they have no force and efficacy.

(2nd.) Consider the frailty and uncertainty of your own lives. Our being is as uncertain as the events of Providence. If we live, and God will, are the exceptions of the text, and do imply that there must be a sensible impression of our own frailty, as well as of the sovereignty of Providence, that the heart may the better submit to God. It is said, “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psa. cxlvi. 4).

Frail men are full of thoughts and projects; this they will do, and that they will do; go to such a city, promote their interests by such an alliance, gain so much by such a purchase; and then they will raise up some stately fabric which shall continue their name and memory to succeeding generations, and all this because they do not mind the earth which they carry about them, and how soon the hand of Providence is able to crumble it into dust. Certainly man will never be wise, till he is able to number his days, and does sufficiently possess his soul of the uncertainty of his abode in the world (Psa. xc. 12).

Observation. We shall live, and do this or that. Mark! it is not enough that God suffer [allow] us to live, but he must also by the same will suffer [allow] us to do or act. The point is, that God’s will concurs not only to our lives, but actions. We may live, and yet not be able to do any thing for the promotion of our designs: for, if God suspend his concurrence, the creatures cannot act, at least not with any towardliness and success, which quite crosses the doctrine of the heathen philosophers. Seneca said, “That we live, it is by the benefit of the gods; that we live well, it is of ourselves.” So Tully: “This is the judgment of all men, that prosperity is to be sought of God, but wisdom to be gotten by ourselves.”

But in the Scriptures we are taught otherwise, not only to seek success of God, but direction; he gives abilities to perform, and a blessing when the action is finished.

  • Without the efficacious [effective], as well as permissive will of God, we can do nothing; he must give us life, and all things necessary to action.
  • We must not only look up to him as the author of the success, but the director of the actions.
  • It is by his conduct and blessing that all things come to pass.
  • Our very counsels and wills are subject to the Divine government, and he can turn them as it pleaseth him (Prov. xxi. 1);

and therefore we must not only commit our ways to his providence, but commend our hearts to the tuition of his Spirit. In short, all things are done by bis will, and must be ascribed to his praise.

May God grant that we indeed see our frailty, His greatness, His supremacy in all things, His worthiness to be submitted to, His lovingkindness in His dealings with us, and may He grant that we be full of thankfulness at all times, especially if by His graces and mercies we have the Lord Christ Jesus as our own!

— David

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