Posted by: reiterations | May 29, 2015

“Prayers Ascend by Fire”

No erudition, no purity of diction, no width of mental outlook, no flowers of eloquence, no grace of person can atone for the lack of fire.  Prayers ascend by fire.  Flame gives prayer access as well as wings, acceptance as well as energy.  There is no incense without fire, no prayer without flame. – E. M. Bounds (1835-1913)

Posted by: reiterations | May 28, 2015

Deeper Than Your Mind

The Word is not received in faith when it merely flutters in the brain, but when it has taken deep root in the heart and becomes an invincible bulwark to withstand and repel all assaults of temptation. – John Calvin (1509-1564), Institutes 3.2.36.

Posted by: reiterations | May 27, 2015

“This Sweet Truth…”

This sweet truth, that Christ died for sinners and rose again for their justification, will not help you unless you hope for yourself.  Yes, you will remain in your old skin while using this blessed saying as a cover for your sins.  Do not take this consolation for, although He died for all and rose again, yet, to you, He is not risen, for you have not yet apprehended, by faith, His resurrection.  The words you have heard, but their power you have not experienced. – Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Posted by: reiterations | May 26, 2015

Jesus is a Priest

We have seen that Jesus Christ is a priest, that, as such, He was prophesied of under the Old Testament and declared so to be in the New.  The origin of this office is, in the next place, to be inquired after.  This, in the general, all will acknowledge to lie in the eternal counsels of God, for “known to Him are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15.18).  But these counsels, absolutely considered, are hid in God, in the eternal treasures of His own wisdom and will.  What we learn of them is by external revelation and effects: “the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the things of this law” (Deuteronomy 29.29).  God frequently gives bounds to the curiosity of men, like the limits fixed to the people in the station at Sinai that they should not gaze after His unrevealed glory nor pry into the things which they have not seen.  It was well said that “the one who scrutinizes majesty is swallowed up by glory.”  Our work is to inquire wherein, how, and whereby God has revealed His eternal counsels to the end that we may know His mind and fear Him, for our good.  And so, even the angels desire to bow down and to look into these things (1 Peter 1.12) – not in a way of condescension, as into things, in their nature, beneath them, but in a way of humble diligence, as into things in their holy contrivance above them.  Our present design, therefore, is to trace those discoveries which God has made of His eternal counsels in this matter, and that through the several degrees of divine revelation whereby He advanced the knowledge of them, until He brought them to their complement in the external exhibition of His Son, clothed in human nature with the glory of this office and discharging the duties thereof.

From: The Priesthood of Christ by John Owen; edited by Philip Ross (Fearn: Christian Heritage, 2010), pp. 39-40.  This work, originally entitled Concerning the Sacerdotal Office of Christ, originally appeared as one of the introductory essays (“exercitations”) to Owen’s massive (approximately 3,000 pages) commentary on Hebrews.

John Owen (1616-1683) was an English Puritan Bible scholar, theologian, and voluminous writer.

Posted by: reiterations | May 25, 2015

Man Built for Worship

The foundation of the duty of social worship lies in the law of nature itself.

View man individually and apart from other men, and it is the very law of his being, as a creature of God, to love and honor and serve his Creator.  Praise and outward homage and adoration are the very expression, by a dependent creature, of the relation in which, as a creature, he stands to God – the very end for which he was created and exists.  Add to the idea of the individual man, taken and regarded as separate and apart from others, the further idea of man as a social being or man made for and placed in the society of others and you are, at once, shut up to the notion of social worship as a duty no less binding upon men collectively than was the duty of private worship upon men individually.  Into whatever relation he enters, man carries with him the same paramount and unchanging law which binds him to honor and love and worship his Creator.  And every relation of life capable of being turned to such an end underlies, according to its character, the same obligation of doing homage to God.  Man in the closet, man in the family, man in the church are equally bound to the duties of the personal, the domestic, the public worship of God.  Without this, there are many of the powers and faculties of man’s nature as a social being, formed, as they were, for the glory of God, which he cannot bring to do their proper work of glorifying Him.  The worship of God, publicly and in society with others, is the proper expression, towards God, of man’s social nature.  The very law and light of nature tell us that the public worship of God is a standing and permanent ordinance for the whole human race.

From: The Church of Christ: A Treatise on the Nature, Powers, Ordinances, Discipline, and Government of the Christian Church by James Bannerman; reprint (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015), p. 341.  Originally published in 1869.  First republished by the Trust in 1960.

Posted by: reiterations | May 24, 2015

For the Lord’s Day (382)

Children, it is the last hour and, as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.  Therefore, we know that it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they were not of us.  For, if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.  But, they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.  But, you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.  I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.  Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?  This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.  No one who denies the Son has the Father.  Whoever confesses the Son has the Father, also.  Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you.  If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you, too, will abide in the Son and in the Father.  And this is the promise that He made to us – eternal life.  (1 John 2.18-27)

Posted by: reiterations | May 23, 2015

Sin is Opposed to God’s Creation

All sin is, essentially, irrational and opposed to the whole motion of the universe and must, necessarily, be annihilated and come to nothing. – Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), from a meditation on Luke 22.53.

Posted by: reiterations | May 22, 2015

The Christian’s Hope of the Inheritance

Eternal life is set before us in the promise, the Spirit works faith in us and hope of that life, and so are we made heirs of it and have a kind of possession of it even now.  Faith and hope bring it near and fill [us] with joy in the well-grounded expectation of it.  The meanest believer is a great heir.  Though he has not his portion in hand, he has good hope through grace and may bear up under all difficulties.  There is a better state in view.  He is waiting for an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for him.  How well may such [believers] comfort themselves with these words! – Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

Posted by: reiterations | May 21, 2015

Say What?

The difference between the PCA and the OPC is like that between the superintendent of schools in a county outside Birmingham and a plumber who fixes toilets in the suburbs of Toledo. – D. G. Hart, post: “Al Mohler to the Rescue,” http://www.oldlife.org (posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015)

Posted by: reiterations | May 20, 2015

The Importance of Maintaining the Biblical View of Man

How glorious a being was man, as thus endowed with rational faculties, robed in righteousness and true holiness, made the steward of God on earth, and vested with a regency which was limited only by his primary relations to Deity!  Surely it is not wise to set aside this biblical and confessional view of man as created and to substitute for it any of those naturalistic theories which, in order to subvert the biblical doctrine of a moral fall from this lofty primeval condition, represent man, rather, as starting from some low estate of savagery, gradually accumulating mental capacity and acquiring knowledge of himself and his earthly environment, and slowly and painfully developing, through long ages, into his present estate of comparative maturity.  To say nothing of the radical conflict between such theories and the biblical records, many considerations will arise in our further study of the moral condition and experience of mankind to show that these theories are, on both philosophic and ethical grounds, untenable.  It is sufficient here to note, first, the low estimate which is thus put upon man and his moral endowments; secondly, the evidences afforded by human history of extensive moral lapses in the career of men and races; and, thirdly, the witness of Christian experience, not to a spiritual development from antecedent germs of character but to a moral restoration or renovation such as certifies in consciousness to the dreadful reality of that antecedent moral fall which the Word of God faithfully describes.

From: Theology of the Westminster Symbols: A Commentary Historical, Doctrinal, Practical on the Confession of Faith and Catechisms and the Related Formularies of the Presbyterian Churches by Edward D. Morris (Columbus: The Champlin Press, 1900), p. 246.

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