Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 3)…

37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground (Heb. 11:37-38).

Of verse 38, the Puritan pastor John Owen writes:

Of this world it is said, that it was “not worthy” of those sufferers. It was not so in the ages and seasons wherein they lived; nor is so of them who suffer in any other age whatever. The world thinks them not worthy of it, or to live in it, to enjoy any name or place among the men of it. Here is a testimony given to the contrary, — that the world is not worthy of them. Nor can any thing be spoken to the greater provocation of it. To tell the great, the mighty, the wealthy, the rulers of the world, that they are not worthy of the society of such as in their days are poor, destitute, despised, wanderers, whom they hurt and persecute, as the “offscouring of all things,” is that which fills them with indignation. There is not an informer or apparitor but would think himself disparaged by it. But they may esteem of it as they please; we know that this testimony is true, and the world one day shall confess it so to be.

Reflecting on this verse, Owen makes this observation:

It becomes us to be filled with thoughts of and affections unto spiritual things, to labor for an anticipation of glory, that we faint not in the consideration of the evils that may befall us on the account of the gospel.

Parents, how are you cultivating the above mindset in yourself and then in your children? Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 2)…

If we believe the coming generation will face more hostility from our pagan culture, how do we switch gears from raising them for worldly success—as we have been doing, let’s be honest—to raising them for warfare, suffering, and loss? (We should have been doing that all along!) Here’s my list (Add others in the comments, please):

1. Discipline your children with the rod and with the Word. Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. Love them through discipline (Prov. 13:24). Want them to have a right regard for authority?—one where they know that the ultimate authority is God whose throne is in heaven? Show your children your own fear of God and submission to His will in this task. Rebuke them and train them with the Word. Spank and speak. Give the no and the yes. Punish for sin and go to God’s Word to show them the right path.

Remember, we are no longer training them for success in the world, we are training them for success in battle… Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy…

The church must get serious about training the next generation—our five year-old sons and daughters—to suffer for the faith. Gone are going to be the days when Christian parents can cover their worldly ambitions for their children with a thin veneer of Christian conservatism and go happily on their way. The new pagan orthodoxy won’t allow such softness. For many parents this will be to die the worst kind of death. Their sons and (especially) daughters won’t be permitted to matriculate at an Ivy League college. They won’t be able to become Christian-ish investment bankers and Christian-ish lawyers and Christian-ish professors and Christian-ish Senators.

And the wheat will begin to be separated from the chaff… Continue reading

Why is it that so few fear God? (Thomas Watson)

Let us bewail the lack of the fear of God in our world. Why is it that so few fear God?

1. Men do not fear God—because they have not the knowledge of God. “They hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:29). Every sin is founded in ignorance of God. If only men knew God in his immense glory, they would be swallowed up with divine amazement. When the prophet Isaiah had a glimpse of God’s glory, he was struck with holy consternation: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!” (Isaiah 6:6). Ignorance of God, banishes the fear of God.

2. Men do not fear God—because they presume on his mercy. God is merciful, and they do not doubt of the virtue of this sovereign balm. But who is God’s mercy for? “His mercy extends to those who fear him” (Luke 1:50). Such as do not fear God’s justice—shall not taste his mercy.

Let this be “for a lamentation”, that the fear of God is so vanished from our world. Why is it almost nowhere to be found? Some fear shame, others fear danger—but where is he who fears God?

And not only among the generality of people—but even among professing Christians, how few fear God in truth! Profession is often made a cloak to cover sin. Absalom palliated his treason with a religious vow (2 Samuel 15:7). The Pharisees made long prayer a cloak for oppression (Matt. 23:14). This is sordid—to carry on wicked designs—under a mask of piety. The snow covers many a dunghill. A snowy white profession covers many a foul heart! The sins of professors are more odious. Thistles are bad in a field—but worse in a garden. The sins of the wicked anger God—but the sins of professing Christians grieve him.

Thomas Watson, The Great Gain of Godliness, 1681

No need for a study committee…

Overture-22-Philadelphia-Study-Committee-on-BCO-21-5It’s said that progressives will revisit settled issues until they become unsettled. The Philadelphia Presbytery is using such tactics, hoping to revisit the settled Biblical polity regarding the sex (the Philadelphia Presbytery shows her slip by using the word “gender”) of elders. They desire to find some wiggle room for candidates for ordination who “may come forward who understand Scripture to allow women to be ordained to the office of elder.”

In no way do I mean the next sentence to be flippant. I’ve completed the work for the study committee…

1 Tim. 2:12-15.

This passage does not need study. It only requires faith.

Judged according to our works?

2Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Rev. 22:12   “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

A question came up in our Sunday school class a few weeks back about whether or not we are judged according to our works. The question arose as we were talking about the Athanasian Creed. Near the end of the creed, we read these statements:

40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;

42. and shall give account of their own works.

43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

So, is that final statement (#43) Biblical? Perhaps taken alone it is a bit too stark.

2 Corinthians 5:10 and Revelation 22:12 make it clear that our final judgment is according to our works. Ephesian 2:8-9 makes it clear that our salvation (justification) is by grace apart from works. During the class, I said that every man faces a judgment according to his works and he who receives condemnation receives what he has earned by his evil works. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

But what of those on the other side of the divide ? How do the good works of the righteous relate to their final judgment?

Here’s some help from Calvin in his commentary on 2 Corinthians:

As the passage relates to the recompensing of deeds, we must notice briefly, that, as evil deeds are punished by God, so also good deeds are rewarded, but for a different reason; for evil deeds are requited with the punishment that they deserve, but God in rewarding good deeds does not look to merit or worthiness. For no work is so full and complete in all its parts as to be deservedly well-pleasing to him, and farther, there is no one whose works are in themselves well-pleasing to God, unless he render satisfaction to the whole law. Now no one is found to be thus perfect. Hence the only resource is in his accepting us through unmerited goodness, and justifying us, by not imputing to us our sins. After he has received us into favor, he receives our works also by a gracious acceptance. It is on this that the reward hinges. There is, therefore, no inconsistency in saying, that he rewards good works, provided we understand that mankind, nevertheless, obtains eternal life gratuitously.

Notice that he says the good works of the justified sinner does not earn him merit or salvation–that is the work of Christ alone. Those good works, though, do factor into the judgment in that God rewards those who do good. Those rewards are by God’s gracious acceptance of our works done by faith in His Son (Eph. 2:10).

But can we say more than that? Are those good works necessary for salvation? In what sense are they necessary? Continue reading

The queering of USC Upstate…

It should come as no surprise that an American university, even in the State of South Carolina, is pushing sexual perversion. University of South Carolina Upstate, in our own backyard in Spartanburg, is promoting a performance-art piece called “How to be a Lesbian in Ten Days or Less.” The schedule of events for the “Bodies of Knowledge Symposium 2014: New Normals, Old Normals, Future Normals in the LGBTQ Community” includes lectures such as “The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays,” “Lesbians can be very dangerous. It’s the testosterone,” “How to Be Queer,” and “What is Sex For?” Search the websites and the academic catalogues of just about any university and you will find such topics boringly normal today.

Let me remind you, residents of South Carolina, that USC Upstate is a public institution. You paid for that April 10-11 Symposium… Continue reading

Good Friday meditations from John Murray…

The lost in perdition will everlastingly bear the unrelieved and unmitigated judgment due to their sins; they will eternally suffer in the exaction of the demands of justice. But there was only one, and there will not need to be another, who bore the full weight of divine judgment upon sin and bore it so as to end it. The lost will eternally suffer in the satisfaction of justice. But they will never satisfy it. Christ satisfied justice. “The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). He was made sin and He was made a curse. He bore our iniquities. He bore the unrelieved and unmitigated damnation of sin, and He finished it. That is the spectacle that confronts us in Gethsemane and on Calvary. This is the explanation of Gethsemane with its bloody sweat and agonizing cry, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matt. 26:39). And this is the explanation of the most mysterious utterance that ever ascended from earth to heaven, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Perish the thought that “there is a Gethsemane hid in all love!” And perish the presumption that dares to speak of our Gethsemanes and Calvaries! It is trifling with the most solemn spectacle in all history, a spectacle unparalleled, unique, unrepeated, and unrepeatable. To approximate this spectacle to the analogy of our human experience is to disclose a state of mind and feeling insensitive to the alphabet of Christianity. Here we are the spectators of a wonder the praise and glory of which eternity will not exhaust. It is the Lord of glory, the Son of God incarnate, the God-man, drinking the cup given Him by the eternal Father, the cup of woe and of indescribable agony. We almost hesitate to say so. But it must be said. It is God in our nature forsaken of God. The cry from the accursed tree evinces nothing less than the abandonment that is the wages of sin. And it was abandonment endured vicariously because He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. There is no analogy. He Himself bore our sins and of the people there was none with Him. There is no reproduction or parallel in the experience of archangels or of the greatest saints. The faintest parallel would crush the holiest of men and the mightiest of the angelic host.

Who will say that the vicarious endurance of the unrelieved and unmitigated judgment of God upon sin impairs the initiative and character of eternal love? It is the spectacle of Gethsemane and Calvary, thus interpreted, that opens to us the folds of unspeakable love. The Father did not spare His own Son. He spared nothing that the dictates of unrelenting rectitude demanded. And it is the undercurrent of the Son’s acquiescence that we hear when He says, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). But why? It was in order that eternal and invincible love might find the full realization of its urge and purpose in redemption by price and by power. Of Calvary the spirit is eternal love and the basis eternal justice. It is the same love manifested in the mystery of Gethsemane’s agony and of Calvary’s accursed tree that wraps eternal security around the people of God. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom. 8:35). “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38, 39). That is the security which a perfect atonement secures and it is the perfection of the atonement that secures it.

-John Murray, Redemption–Accomplished and Applied, 77-78.

Repenting tears are delicious…

Repenting tears are delicious.

They may be compared to myrrh, which though it is bitter in taste, has a sweet smell and refreshes the spirits. So repentance, though it is bitter in itself—yet it is sweet in the effects. It brings inward peace. The soul is never more enlarged and inwardly delighted—than when it can kindly melt. How oft do the saints fall aweeping for joy! The Hebrew word for “repent” signifies “to take comfort”. None so joyful as the penitent!

They say that tears have four qualities: they are hot, moist, salty, and bitter. It is true of repenting tears. They are hot, to warm a frozen conscience; moist, to soften a hard heart; salty, to season a soul putrefying in sin; bitter, to wean us from the love of the world. And I will add a fifth. They are sweet, in that they make the heart inwardly rejoice “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy!” (John 16:20). “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” (2 Corinthians 6:10)

“Let a man,” said Augustine, “grieve for his sin and rejoice for his grief.” Tears are the best sweetmeats. David, who was the great weeper in Israel, was the sweet singer of Israel. The sorrows of the penitent are like the sorrows of a woman giving birth: “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (John 16:21). So the sorrows of humbled sinners bring forth grace, and what joy there is when this child is born!

-Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance