Sacrificial Giving

money8Vance Christie, in an article entitled “William Booth and the impact of self-denial giving” writes:

In August, 1886, William Booth delivered a stirring challenge at London’s Exeter Hall, encouraging support of the Salvation Army so it could expand its ministries around the globe. In the audience sat Salvation Army Major John Carleton, a one-time Irish textile executive. He was surrounded by wealthy “civilians” who jotted lavish sums on their “canaries,” the Army’s term for the yellow pledge cards individuals submitted.

Carleton was already living on a shoestring budget. Unlike the well-to-do people all around him, he had no discretionary funds with which to work. Suddenly he was struck with an idea of how he could contribute to this special offering. On his pledge card he wrote: “By going without pudding every day for a year, I calculate I can save 50 shillings. This I will do, and will remit the amount named as quickly as possible.”

This offer touched Booth more deeply than any of the generous pledges made that day. But the thought of one of his officers skimping on his meals for an entire year did not set well with him. The next morning he burst into the office where his son Bramwell and Major Carleton were working. He had come up with a unique plan of his own. No member of the Salvation Army should have to go without something for an entire year. Instead, they could all unite to deny themselves some normal expense for a week and donate the money saved to Army funds.

The first Self-Denial Week was confined to the United Kingdom and raised a whopping 4,820 pounds (equaling over $24,000). To Booth’s delight, the bulk of that amount came in pennies and halfpennies. His aides were troubled by the scarcity of gold coins but the General stated enthusiastically, “Never mind! There is plenty of copper.” He realized that many had given their coppers at greater sacrifice to themselves than when gold and silver coins were contributed by wealthier individuals.

Self-Denial Week became an annual event in the Salvation Army. It was observed wherever Salvationists ministered throughout the world and came to be held one week each spring. Booth always contributed ten pounds to the special offering. Despite his overwhelming schedule, he kept bees and invested the proceeds from the honey sales to the cause. Bramwell and his family lived on bread and water for a week to support the fund. Officers trimmed each other’s hair to save a sixpenny which could then be donated.

When the Salvation Army came to Zululand in South Africa’s eastern republic of Natal, an elderly, half-blind Zulu widow named Maria begged a local farmer for a single week’s work hoeing Indian corn. Touched by her strong faith and desire, he eventually consented, stipulating that this woman in her eighties could work in the fields for a week at the same rate as the village girls—sixpence a day and her food.

During the service at the Army hall the following Sunday morning, the presiding officer invited congregants to present their Self-Denial offering envelopes at the altar. Led by the hand by a young girl, Maria made her way to the altar with an envelope containing her week’s wages. Kneeling, she lifted her largely sightless eyes heavenward and prayed: “Lord Jesus, take my gift. I wish it were more, but it is all I have. May this help You to send light to people who are in greater darkness than I am.”

Complete Sovereignty in one verse

SoverI have met more than one professing Christian who railed against the concept of God’s Sovereignty by saying that the word “Sovereign” is not even found in the Bible. Have you ever heard such a thing? In reality, the whole argument is quite laughable for the simple reason that while the word ‘Sovereign’ is not found in the King James Version of the Bible (you will not find the word “Trinity” in there either), the concept certainly is. There is hardly a single page of our Bibles that fails to unveil the complete Sovereignty of God over all He has made. Just as an aside, others translations of the Bible do indeed use the word “Sovereign” quite frequently. It should also be said that one of the Hebrew names of God is ‘El Elyon’ which means “the Most High God” or “the Sovereign One.”

The whole Bible is a revelation of God in His supreme sovereignty. By Sovereignty we mean that God does what He wants, when He wants, the way He wants, without having to ask anyone’s permission.

God “works all things according to the counsel of His will” – Ephesians 1:11.

Psalm 115:3 states it this way, “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.”

Psalm 135:6 says, “The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.” God is sovereign. He is in control.

If I was asked to show God’s Sovereignty by quoting only one verse of the Bible, I would probably turn to Romans 11:36. In Romans 8:28 through to the end of chapter 11, Paul has outlined the supremacy, majesty and sovereignty of God in unmistakable terms. And yet Paul is not merely a theologian of the mind, but one of the heart also and therefore under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, his high theology becomes worshipful doxology, as he thunders out the heartfelt cry of “oh…” – and what a massive “oh” it is!

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Everything is from Him.

Behind all the schemes and actions of mice and men stands Yahweh, sovereign and majestic in regal splendor. All things are from Him. He is the Source of all things. All things come from Him.

As the Westminster Confession of Faith states, “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

Much could be written to explain the words of the Confession here but there is absolutely no doubt as to what the text says and as to what it means by what it says. All things are from Him.

Everything is Through Him

Next, we read that all things are “Through Him.” All things exist by His activity and through His sustaining power. Jesus revealed that not even a single sparrow falls to the ground “apart from your Father.” (Matthew 10:29) Even when it comes to seemingly insignificant or trivial events (like a sparrow falling); these events only occur because of the Father’s will.

Everything is to Him

All things are “to Him.” He is the purpose for everything. All things exist for Him. All things are “to Him.” There is no purpose found outside of Him.

All things are FROM HIM. All things are THROUGH HIM. All things are TO HIM.

To Him be the glory!

If even ONE of these statements is NOT altogether true, then we would not be able to say “To him be glory forever. Amen.” If all things are not from Him, then not all the glory is due Him. If all things are not through Him, God is not to be glorified for sustaining everything. And if all things are not to Him, then He is not to be glorified as the purpose for everything. But precisely because all these things are true – from Him and through Him and to Him are all things, then it follows that to Him belongs all the glory forever.

When Paul had written these words of supreme Sovereignty, he closed by adding the word “Amen” which means “this is true” or “so be it.”

May I ask, when you encounter these words, what is the response of your heart and mind? The one who embraces the Bible as God’s word has no other alternative than to bow before this Sovereign Lord and humbly affirm with the Apostle, “Amen – this is true, so be it.”

Romans 11:36: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

God’s Purposes for us in our hard times

Mark Altrogge writes:

Everything God does in our lives is for our benefit, including suffering. Though they never seem pleasant at the time, hard times produce wonderful benefits in our lives. On Monday I mentioned one benefit – affliction drives us to God’s word. Here are six more benefits of suffering:

Affliction drives us to God in prayer

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. James 5:13

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. PS 107:6

When the sun’s shining and everything’s going our way, we don’t feel our need for God. But desperate times lead to desperate prayer. When we’re helpless to change our situation, we cry out to our Savior, who delivers us from our distress.

Affliction humbles us

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 2 CO 12:7

Afflictions remind us of how fragile we are. It keeps us lowly. Reminds us that everything we have is a gift. Pride leads to a fall, but God gives grace to the humble. Affliction positions us to receive grace.

Affliction makes us rely on Christ’s power

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 CO 12:9

When we realize how powerless we are, then Jesus can display his might in our lives. When we’ve exhausted all our own resources Jesus rides in at just the right moment, like the hero in a movie who comes to rescue someone as the train is bearing down on them.

Affliction brings us the comfort of God himself

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction…, 2 Co 1:3

As well meaning as others are, there are times when no human words can comfort. But God himself comforts us when we cry out to him in our pain. The God of ALL COMFORT, the one who knows exactly what our broken hearts need, comforts us in ALL our affliction. The One who fashioned our hearts, who knows our every drop of sadness, knows the exact medicine we need to comfort us.

Affliction gives us compassion for others

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Co 1:3

When someone else has been through the same thing, their words can really comfort us. Though your pain is horrific now, someday God will use you to bring his comfort to someone else who suffers the fury of depression or the agony of a child who rebels like yours.

Affliction produces endurance and patience

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, RO 5:3

The only way to get patience and endurance is by being placed in situations that require it. But it will be worth it in the end, because it is by patiently enduring in faith that we’ll enter heaven.

Affliction reminds us that this world is not our home

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. HEB 13:14

As many blessings as this world has, it’s not our home. Affliction weans us from this world, reminds us how transitory it is, and makes us long for heaven, for that day when we’ll see Jesus face to face and he will personally wipe away every tear from our eyes.

Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget none of his benefits. Especially those benefits he brings us through hard times.

Dangers in Theological Controversy

Nicholas T. Batzig writes with much insight in the following article (source):

Debate in theological matters is necessary in a fallen world. God commands believers to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). We are to be zealous for the defense and propagation of the whole counsel of God for His own glory and the building up of His people. Ministers and local church members, in many Reformed churches, take vows to “study the peace and purity of the church.” This includes purity in doctrine. But, there are also wisdom principles that must accompany a desire to defend the truth. In every battle there is fallout. There are dangers that we need to seek to avoid when entering into theological debate.

In recent years, there has been a growing debate over the doctrine of sanctification. Some of the questions involved in this debate include: Does justification produce sanctification? Is sanctification “getting used to your justification?” What role does sanctification play in the subjective assurance of salvation in the life of a believer? Does justification make union with Christ possible, or does union make justification possible? In addition to these questions, a myriad of others have been–and ought to be–raised for the sake of clarity and the defense of truth. There are, however, several dangers that come with controversy.

The Danger of Infection

There is a danger of infecting others with false teaching–even while trying to refute it.

Under their section titled “On the Preaching of the Word,” in The Directory for the Public Worship of God, the Scottish Divines give us a very short and very wise statement about the ministers’ responsibility to refute false teaching in the church. What is most captivating about this brief statement is that it gives us instruction concerning 1) the dangers of talking about false teaching, and 2) the necessity of refuting false teaching in the church. They wrote:

In confutation of false doctrines, he [i.e. the minister] is neither to raise an old heresy from the grave, nor to mention a blasphemous opinion unnecessarily: but, if the people be in danger of an error, he is to confute it soundly, and endeavor to satisfy their judgments and consciences against all objections.1

Since beliefs inevitably have consequences on our lives and actions, the Divines first warn against our “raising an old heresy from the grave, nor to mention a blasphemous opinion unnecessarily.” They do not say this to be censorious, or to bury their heads in the sand. Rather, they raise this warning because of the nature of false teaching. When I was a young Christian, a friend taught me that “whenever false teaching is taught in a nuanced fashion there is the danger that some who hear it will be drawn into it.” He went on to explain that this is true within the realm of relationships, as well. Whenever we start to enter into debate with those with whom we disagree we are in danger of getting closer to them and become more susceptible of being influenced by their beliefs. It is not guaranteed that this will happen, but it is certainly a very real danger. Tragically, in recent years, my friend embraced a sinful lifestyle due in part to the public discussions about, and approval of, it. I have also watched a minister of the Gospel walk away from Protestantism in the midst of engaging, on church court levels, with a man who was being tried for holding to aberrant theological views on the sacraments and soteriology. Whether his engagement with this man’s views were the cause of his departing from the truth or not, I cannot help but wonder what impact the aberrant teaching had on this man. Continue reading

Between Two Thieves

quillpen“The natural vibration of the mind is from the extreme of legalism to that of licentiousness, and nothing but the grace of God can fix it in the proper medium of Divine truth. The Gospel, like its blessed Master, is always crucified between two thieves—legalists of all sorts on the one hand and Antinomians on the other; the former robbing the Savior of the glory of his work for us, and the other robbing him of the glory of his work within us.” – J.H. Thornwell, ‘Antinomianism’ in The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell (Richmond: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1871) p. 386

The Difference Between Pastors and Teachers

Douglas-Wilson-2Doug Wilson writes:

I was talking recently with a friend about the difference between pastors and teachers, and it got my thoughts churning. You know what Wodehouse said about some minds being like the soup in a bad restaurant — better left unstirred. But that’s too bad, too late now, etc.

Considered from one angle, this topic might seem a little theology wonkish — three office/four office debate and so on. But considered from another angle it could be considered the more controversial things I have written. (Overheard in the faculty lounge at Westminster West: “We’ll be the judge of that . . .”).

First, let’s get some of the biblical data out of the way. I understand the gifts that Paul describes in Ephesians to be four in number, not five (Eph. 4:11). That means that the fourth is a compound gift, that of pastor/teacher. This means that those who are called to this office should both instruct and shepherd the people of God. All pastors should be teachers.

But it does not follow that all teachers should be pastors. The gift of teaching is mentioned a number of times in Scripture as a stand-alone gift (e.g. 1 Cor. 12:28; Acts 13:1). A man in a seminary classroom, or a scholar devoted to the production of books, or engaged in similar activity, is doing something that is very valuable. But the fact that it is valuable and good does not mean that it is the same thing as a pastor. A screwdriver is valuable, but it is not a hammer.

So here is the difficulty. Because of the high value placed on intellectual rigor in the Reformed tradition, we have drifted into a position where the academic pastor is the highly prized pastor. He has a doctorate, hopefully from somewhere in the UK, he smokes a pipe, and there are bonus points if he sounds like Sinclair Ferguson. This is not a shot at Sinclair Ferguson, incidentally — he’s supposed to sound that way, and I am reading a fantastic book by him right now. So forget I mentioned it.
Teaching is good, and teachers are good, but teachers are not pastors. Big problems come down upon us when we assume that because the teaching is good, the pastoring is covered.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16–17).

The man of God here is the minister, the one called to pastoral ministry. He is given the Bible, his tool chest, and why? There are four things he is to do with it — teach doctrine, reprove, correct, and instruct in righteousness. Twenty-five percent of this is something a teacher could do. The rest of it is pastoral. And actually, the teaching of doctrine is, in the hands of a pastor, pastoral also. Continue reading

Law and Gospel: Avoiding both Antinomianism and Legalism

Law-Gospel2-175x150Tullian Tchividjian writes the following article entitled, “Antinomianism, Legalism and the Relationship Between Law and Gospel”:

There is some talk these days regarding big terms like antinomianism (a word coined by Martin Luther which simply means “anti-law”) and legalism. I’ve written about that here and address it at length in Chapter 9 of One Way Love. But, at the center of any discussion regarding antinomianism and legalism is how one understands the Biblical distinction between God’s law and God’s gospel. I hope the following thoughts are helpful and further this important conversation. The theological lifting here is a bit heavy, but I think it’s worth your time and effort to think on these things.

One of the problems in the current conversation regarding the relationship between law and gospel is that the term “law” is not always used to mean the same thing. This is understandable since in the Bible “law” does not always mean the same thing.

For example, in Psalm 40:8 we read: “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Here the law is synonymous with God’s revealed will. A Christian seeking to express their love for God and neighbor delights in those passages that declare what God’s will is. When, however, Paul tells Christians that they are no longer under the law (Rom. 6:14) he obviously means more by law than the revealed will of God. He’s talking there about Christians being free from the curse of the law-not needing to depend on adherence to the law to establish our relationship to God: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4).

So, it’s not as simple as you might think. For short hand, I think it’s helpful to say that law is anything in the Bible that says “do”, while gospel is anything in the Bible that says “done”; law equals imperative and gospel equals indicative. However, when you begin to parse things out more precisely, you discover some important nuances that should significantly help the conversation forward so that people who are basically saying the same thing aren’t speaking different languages and talking right past one another.

Discussion of the law and its three uses (1) usus theologicus (drives us to Christ), (2) usus politicus (the civil use), and (3) usus practicus (revealing of God’s will for living) are helpful. But I’ve discovered that this outline all by itself raises just as many questions to those I talk to as it does provide answers. Continue reading

Divine Child Abuse?

In an article entitled “Was Christ’s death divine child abuse?” Jason Helopoulos writes:

He in our place. “He has borne our griefs” (Is. 53:4). “He was wounded for our transgressions” (Is. 53: 5). “He was crushed for our iniquities” (Is. 53:4). “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with his stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:5). He was our substitute. It has been argued that this is unjust; it isn’t right. Some enemies of the gospel have gone so far as to say that Christ being our substitute was some sort of divine child-abuse. However, that is far from the case. As Jesus said in Luke 22, quoting Isaiah 53:12, “He had to be numbered with the transgressors.” He had to be. It was the only way to save sinful men. “For our sake, He made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). He became sin for us. And because He took what was ours we are absolved from the necessity of enduring that same punishment. Justice has been upheld. He received wrath and death that we might receive grace and life. Our debt has been paid by another—in full. And this is anything but divine child abuse. Let me give you four reasons why.

First, an assertion along these lines assumes that we have a better view of all things than God. It suggests that we can determine what is right, just, and righteous to a greater degree than God. How do we know that anything is right? How do we know if something is righteous or just? Paul says in Romans 7, “Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “Thou shall not covet.”” We know what sin is, what good is, what is right, what is wrong, what is just, and what unjustice is, because of the Law of God. God, Himself, is the standard for holiness, righteousness, and justice. Furthermore, He has established what is righteous and what is just and what is right. Therefore, how silly it is for those who wouldn’t know what is right apart from the Law to say that the Lawgiver Himself, who established, defines, and gives very meaning to that Law, is in contradiction with that same Law.

Second, from all of eternity, He established that He would do this very thing (1 Cor. 2:7). Even before the world was created or the Fall occurred, God in eternity past had determined, planned, and ordained that the second person of the Triune Godhead, the Son, would become flesh and willingly die to purchase a people for the glory of God (Eph. 1:4-5). He predetermined and decreed that the Son would come into this world to bear the penalty of sin for sinners. He did not come to only uphold the Law, but to fulfill it. Christ’s substitutionary death in our place was no plan B. This is the sovereign decree and plan of an omnipotent, omniscient, and merciful God. This is His world. This was His decree. It is His Law. And it is His right and generosity to provide for fallen sinners in such a merciful way. Third, Christ’s substitution for us was anything but divine child abuse as is clear from the fact that the Son willingly suffered in our place. Hebrews says, that Jesus, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus knows that He must die as a substitute for sinners and He willingly chooses this path. He says in Luke 9, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (vs. 22). In Luke 17 He says, “But first (the Son of Man) must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation” (vs. 25). In Luke 18 He says, “For (the Son of Man) will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise” (vv. 32-33). He willingly, humbly, and knowingly became a substitute for us.

And that leads to our final point. Some may argue, “But even if Christ knew and willingly offered Himself, in our penal system, we would say it isn’t right for one man to bear the penalty of death for another.” That is true, because no mere man owns himself. Therefore, we don’t have the right to substitute our own lives in the place of another, enduring the justice that is their due. No man can justly offer Himself for another, because he is not his own. He was created by God and so he belongs to God. But Christ is His own. He is the owner of His own life. He is the Creator and He may choose to die for others if He so chooses, because it is His life. He is wholly unique as the Godman. He said, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18).

He willingly bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, was wounded for our transgressions, and was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was laid the chastisement that brought us peace. And with His stripes we are healed. He was our substitute and this was no divine child abuse. It was a gift—a gift of infinite and eternal value.

Five Things About God’s Law

Sproul JrDr. R.C. Sproul, Jr writes:

There’s been a bit of a hubbub of late on God’s law. Which is odd, isn’t it, since neither it, nor He has changed in some time. It is true enough that there are plenty of ways to get His law wrong. Just ask Paul. But here are five positive things about the law that I am positive about.

1. It restrains evil. I find myself often frustrated at our overly polite assessment of the human condition. We relegate monsters to history, like the Nazi’s, or to the fringes, like serial killers, all to keep the monster at bay. But we have met the monster, and we are them. We’re the kind of people who get more upset at being cut off in traffic than the horrible truth that our neighbors are cutting their babies to pieces down the street. I am ever eager to get us to a deeper understanding of how bad we are. But, I also want us to understand that because of His grace in His law, we are not as bad as we might be. The law restrains evil, through even the consciences of the ungodly, as they retain some measure of the imago dei.

2. It exposes evil. The law, as a mirror, exposes the truth that we are sinners. This works for both believers and unbelievers alike. For the believer, the law drives us back time and again to the finished work of Christ on our behalf. We can rejoice that our heavenly Father loves us with a perfect and unchangeable love, that all His wrath toward our failures was poured out 2000 years ago. For the unbeliever the law can be used by the Spirit to awaken the unbeliever to his need for Christ.

3. It tells us what we’re supposed to do. Isn’t that wonderful? God has given us in His law all that we need to know about how to please Him. We are not left groping in the dark, not left to follow our own folly. To acknowledge this blessing, of course, in no way diminishes the second blessing. Nor ought affirming the second blessing diminish this third blessing. It’s all good.

4. It shows us how to live a blessed life. One could certainly argue that this is just 3b, that I have stuttered. But the truth is too many of us look at God’s law as some unpleasant requirement, a burden that we not only can’t keep, but that would make us miserable if we did keep it. God’s law, however, is ever and always a pathway to joy. My life has never improved by the power of sin. At each crossroads, each moment of choice, the obedient choice redounds to my blessing. As I honor my father and mother it goes well for me in the land. As I raise my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, they become like olive plants about my table.

5. It shows me who God is. It was Spurgeon I believe who said, when asked to reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, “I’m not accustomed to reconciling friends.” In like manner the notion that I should turn away from His law to look at Him is wrong. The law of God is not a sinister intrusion into His glory, but a reflection of His glory, of His character. To speak ill of it is to speak ill of Him.

Law friends does not rain on the parade of grace, any more than grace washes away the law. They both flow out of the very heart of our Father. Look to Christ who stood in our place under the curse of the law. But do not curse the law that He kept for us. Instead, let us take up our cross and follow Him.

FOLLOW UP QUESTION: since God doesn’t change, why does His law change?

His law doesn’t change. The application of it does. Theologians wisely distinguish between natural law and positive law. This distinction, however, must be distinguished from natural law and revealed law. The latter distinction separates what we learn about God’s law from the created order, and what we learn from His Word. The former, however, distinguishes between the underlying, unchangeable principles, inherent in the nature of things, and the specific purposes of a particular law. Continue reading

Miscellaneous Quotes (102)

quotes“The very heart of worship, as the Bible makes clear, is the business of expressing, from the depths of our spirits, the highest possible honor we can offer before God.” – R.C. Sproul

“Just as a leopard CANNOT change its spots and a camel CANNOT go through the eye of a needle (both are impossible) MAN cannot change the human heart – BUT GOD CAN. That is our only hope as we pray for and reach out with the gospel to lost souls.” – John Samson

“Without regeneration, God would just be hosing off the pig and watching it head right back for the muck.” – Dan Phillips

“Let your souls delight in communion with God while you are on earth, since you look for your happiness in communion with him in heaven. ” – Thomas Boston

“The only rightful response to the display of God’s perfections must be to give Him glory.” – Steven Lawson

“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.” – Elisabeth Elliot

“It is entirely the work of grace and a benefit conferred by it that our heart is changed from a stony one to one of flesh, that our will is made new, and that we, created anew in heart and mind, at length will what we ought to will.” – John Calvin

What is a Christian? One who, by the grace of God, can declare that he justly deserves the wrath of God, save for the mercy of Jesus Christ alone. He casts aside all hope in his self-righteousness and puts away all pride in his own goodness. One who is glad to be regarded as spiritually bankrupt, a poor sinner, saved by the free grace and righteousness of Christ and, by the sheer mercy of God, yields in allegiance to Him alone as LORD and sovereign. In a word, one who “glories in Christ Jesus and has no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil. 3:3)

“Students, I would encourage you — the next time you encounter someone at school who declares you to be bigoted or immoral for your faith, respectfully ask them 1) how they know their morality is superior to others? 2) by what authority do they establish morality for the rest of us? … By calling you immoral they obviously think they know the standard of right and wrong for everyone. If more Christians took this line of reasoning it would demolish the arguments and pretensions (2 Cor. 10:5) of the modern thought police in one fell swoop.” – @Monergism

“The natural man dislikes the whole idea of revelation. Why? Because he is wise and prudent, so full of his own intellect and understanding. The Gospel … is not something that man has thought of or achieved, but something that comes out of the mind of God … it is altogether from His side, and man contributes nothing to it.” – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Grace is favor shown to the undeserving; and the more we grow in grace the more we perceive our undeservingness, the more we feel our need of grace, the more sensible we are of our indebtedness to the God of all grace.” – A. W. Pink

“Evolution is a fairy tale for grown ups.” – Dr. Greg Bahnsen Continue reading