Archive for August, 2014

What You Believe Matters

August 25, 2014 1 comment

by Justin S. Holcomb

What you believe about God changes everything.

It affects how you love, work, live, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase, and worship. Is God an impersonal blob, distant and disinterested in the world except for figuring out who the good and bad people are? Is “god” a karma vibe making sure everyone gets what they deserve? Is God a myth that weak, stupid, or oppressive people use to console themselves or dominate other people? Is God a cosmic cheerleader who is concerned mainly with helping you achieve immediate happiness and self-actualization? Or is God someone else?




Read the entire article here.


Why Theological Study Is for Everyone

August 25, 2014 3 comments

Mention the terms ‘theology’ or ‘theologian’ around most Christians and they will immediately go into a defensive position against these terms. I once was explaining a doctrine to a certain Christian lady and I simply stated, “Most Theologians believe….” and before I could finish she cut me off by stating, “I don’t like Theologians.” This attitude against the terms ‘theology’ and ‘theologians’ is prevalent among Charismatic/Pentecostals, who believe that the mind is not to be engaged when studying scripture, but instead the Holy Spirit just drops knowledge into you as you progress in your Christian life.

However, anyone who begins studying about God is studying theology and could be called a Theologian. They may not be a theologian in the professional sense of the term, but nevertheless they are still engaged in theology.

This is why I am pointing you to a good article by Jared C. Wilson. In this article Jared explains what the term ‘theology’ means and give three primary reasons why every Christian ought to be a theologian.

Here is a quote from the article:

Every Christian must be a theologian. In a variety of ways, this is something I tell my church often. And the looks I get from some surprised souls are the evidence that I have not yet adequately communicated that the purposeful theological study of God by lay people is important.

Many times the confused responses come from a misunderstanding of what is meant in this context by theology. So I tell my church what I don’t mean. When I say every Christian must be a theologian, I don’t mean that every Christian must be an academic or that every Christian must be a scholar or that every Christian must work hard at giving the impression of being a know-it-all. We all basically understand what is meant in the biblical warning that “knowledge puffs up” (1 Cor. 8:1). Nobody likes an egghead.

But the answer to formal scholasticism or dry intellectualism is not a neglect of theological study. Laypeople have no biblical warrant to leave the duty of doctrine up to pastors and professors alone. Therefore, I remind my church that theology—coming from the Greek words theos (God) and logos (word)—simply means “the knowledge (or study) of God.” If you’re a Christian, you must by definition know God. Christians are disciples of Jesus; they are student-followers of Jesus. The longer we follow Him, the more we learn about Him and, consequently, the more deeply we come to know Him.


To continue reading the article click here.

For Whom Did Christ Die?

August 25, 2014 1 comment

The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:

1. All the sins of all men.
2. All the sins of some men, or
3. Some of the sins of all men.

In which case it may be said:

1. That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved.
2. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth.
3. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?

You answer, “Because of unbelief.”

I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!”

John Owen-For Whom Did Christ Die?

Bible Doctrine of Election-Contents


Part I-Bible Doctrine of Election

Introduction to Election
General Remarks to Disarm Prejudice
Some False Views Examined and Refuted
The Doctrine Defined, Explained and Proved
Objections Considered and Answered

Part II-Questions & Answers on Election

Letter 1 by Mrs. Marjorie Bond
Reply by Dr. C. D. Cole
Letter 2 by Mrs. Marjorie Bond
Letter 3 by Mrs. Marjorie Bond
Reply by Dr. C. D. Cole


Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part I-Bible Doctrine of Election

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers-Prayer 1

August 21, 2014 2 comments


O THOU who art King of kings and Lord of lords, we worship Thee.

“Before Jehovah’s awful throne We bow with sacred joy.”

We can truly say that we delight in God. There was a time when we feared Thee, O God, with the fear of bondage. Now we reverence, but we love as much as we reverence. The thought of Thine Omnipresence was once horrible to us. We said: “Whither shall we flee from His presence?” and it seemed to make hell itself more dreadful, because we heard a voice, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.” But now, O Lord, we desire to find Thee. Our longing is to feel Thy presence, and it is the heaven of heavens that Thou art there. The sick bed is soft when Thou art there. The furnace of affliction grows cool when Thou art there, and the house of prayer when Thou art present is none other than the house of God, and it is the very gate of heaven.

Come near, our Father, come very near to Thy children. Some of us are very weak in body and faint in heart. Soon, O God, lay Thy right hand upon us and say unto us, “Fear not.” Peradventure, some of us are alike, and the world is attracting us. Come near to kill the influence of the world with Thy superior power.

Even to worship may not seem easy to some. The dragon seems to pursue them, and floods out of his mouth wash away their devotion. Give to them great wings as of an eagle, that each one may fly away into the place prepared for him, and rest in the presence of God to-day.

Our Father, come and rest Thy children now. Take the helmet from our brow, remove from us the weight of our heavy armor for awhile, and may we just have peace, perfect peace, and be at rest. Oh! help us, we pray Thee, now. As Thou hast already washed Thy people in the fountain filled with blood and they are clean, now this morning wash us from defilement in the water. With the basin and with the ewer, O Master, wash our feet again. It will greatly refresh; it will prepare us for innermost fellowship with Thyself. So did the priests wash ere they went into the holy place.

Lord Jesus, take from us now everything that would hinder the closest communion with God. Any wish or desire that might hamper us in prayer remove, we pray Thee. Any memory of either sorrow or care that might hinder the fixing of our affection wholly on our God, take it away now. What have we to do with idols any more? Thou hast seen and observed us. Thou knowest where the difficulty lies. Help us against it, and may we now come boldly, not into the Holy place alone, but into the Holiest of all, where we should not dare to come if our great Lord had not rent the veil, sprinkled the mercy seat with His own blood, and bidden us enter.

Now, we have come close up to. Thyself, to the light that shineth between the wings of the Cherubim, and we speak with Thee now as a man speaketh with his friends. Our God, we are Thine. Thou art ours. We are now concerned in one business, we are leagued together for one battle. Thy battle is our battle, and our fight is Thine. Help us, we pray Thee. Thou who didst strengthen Michael and his angels to cast out the dragon and his angels, help poor flesh and blood that to us also the word may be fulfilled: “The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet, shortly.”

Our Father, we are very weak. Worst of all we are very wicked if left to ourselves, and we soon fall a prey to the enemy. Therefore help us. We confess that sometimes in prayer when we are nearest to Thee at that ‘very time some evil thought comes in, some wicked desire. Oh! what poor simpletons we are. Lord, help us. We feel as if we would now come closer to Thee still, and hide under the shadow of Thy wings. We wish to be lost in God. We pray that Thou mayest live in us, and not we live, but Christ live in us and show Himself in us and through us.

Lord, sanctify us. Oh! that Thy spirit might come and saturate every faculty, subdue every passion, and use every power of our nature for obedience to God.

Come, Holy Spirit, we do know Thee; Thou hast often overshadowed us. Come, more fully take possession of us. Standing now as we feel we are right up at the mercy seat our very highest prayer is for perfect holiness, complete consecration, entire cleansing from every evil. Take our heart, our head, our hands, our feet, and use us all for Thee. Lord, take our substance, let us not hoard it for ourselves, nor spend it for ourselves. Take our talent, let us not try to educate ourselves that we may have the repute of being wise, but let every gain of mental attainment be still that we may serve Thee better.

May every breath be for Thee; may every minute be spent for Thee. Help us to live while we live and while we are busy in the world as we must be, for we are called to it, may we sanctify the world for Thy service. May we be lumps of salt in the midst of society. May our spirit and temper as well as our conversation be heavenly; may there be an influence about us that shall make the world the better before we leave it. Lord, hear us in this thing.

And now that we have Thine ear we would pray for this poor world in which we live. We are often horrified by it. O, Lord, we could wish that we did not know anything about it for our own comfort. We have said, “Oh! for a lodge in some vast wilderness.” We hear of oppression and robbery and murder, and men seem let loose against each other. Lord, have mercy upon this great and wicked city. What is to be done with these millions? What can we do? At least help every child of Thine to do his utmost. May none of us contribute to the evil directly or indirectly, but may we contribute to the good that is in it.

We feel we may speak with Thee now about this, for when Thy servant Abraham stood before Thee and spake with such wonderful familiarity to Thee, he pleaded for Sodom; and we plead for London. We would follow the example of the Father of the Faithful and pray for all great cities, and indeed for all the nations. Lord, let Thy kingdom come. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth. Chase the old dragon from his throne, with all his hellish crew. Oh! that the day might come when even upon earth the Son of the woman, the Man-child, should rule the nations, not with a broken staff of wood, but with an enduring scepter of iron, full of mercy, but full of power, full of grace, but yet irresistible. Oh! that that might soon come, the personal advent of our Lord! We long for the millennial triumph of His Word.

Until then, O Lord, gird us for the fight, and make us to be among those who overcome, through the blood of the Lamb and through the word of our testimony, because we “love not our lives unto the death.”

We lift our voice to Thee in prayer; also, for all our dear ones. Lord, bless the sick and make them well as soon as it is right they should be. Sanctify to them all they have to bear. There are also dear friends who are very weak; some that are very trembling. God bless them. While the tent is being taken down may the inhabitant within look on with calm joy, for we shall by-and-by “be clothed upon with our house that is from heaven.” Lord, help us to sit very loose by all these things here below. May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house but an inn, in which we sup and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.

Lord, save the unconverted, and bring out, we pray Thee, from among them those who are converted, but who have not confessed Christ. May the Church be built up by many who, having believed, are baptized unto the sacred name. We pray Thee go on and multiply the faithful in the land. Oh! that Thou wouldst turn the hearts of men to the gospel once more. Thy servant is often very heavy in heart because of the departures from the faith. Oh! bring them back; let not Satan take away any more of the stars with his tail, but may the lumps of God shine bright. Oh! Thou that walkest amongst the seven golden candlesticks trim the flame, pour forth the oil, and let the light shine brightly and steadily. Now, Lord, we cannot pray any longer, though we have a thousand things to ask for. Thy servant cannot, so he begs to leave a broken prayer at the mercy seat with this at the foot of it: We ask in the name of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.


C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers

Chapter 34-Faith

August 20, 2014 2 comments


I. Its important position.

As disbelief was so prominent in the sin of the first Adam so faith is most prominent in the redemption through the second Adam.

It holds an important connection with every act and condition of salvation. It is by faith that men come into vital union with Christ, through faith that they are justified, through faith that they can acceptably worship, through faith that the Christian lives, through faith that his sanctification progresses, it being the means of his conquering the world, of his exercising hope in his future, and becoming more and more identified with Christ in his spiritual reign here and hereafter. These facts evince its importance and the necessity of fully understanding what is meant by it.

II. Its meaning.

It corresponds with our words, belief and trust,–with belief so far as it refers to the acceptance of facts and statements, or of the veracity of a person,–with trust so far as a person or object is made the foundation of reliance. We believe a fact, a statement, a person; we trust or rely upon that fact, statement or person as something upon which we build. In the one case we have faith in, in the other we put faith in.

The noun pistis and the verb pisteuo are used in each of these senses in the scripture, and also in the two unitedly; (1.) as to mere belief of the truth either savingly or otherwise. 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 10:39; John 2:22; John 5:46; Acts 26:27; Jas. 2:19.

(2.) In the sense of reliance.

John 2:24. “Jesus did not trust himself unto them.”

John 7:5. “For even his brethren did not believe in him.”

2 Tim. 1:12. “I know him whom I have believed.”

1 John 4:1. “Beloved, believe not every spirit.”

(3.) But the almost invariable usage of the New Testament includes both elements, the belief of a person and of the facts about him, and reliance upon them and him for salvation.

The difference between these three forms of belief is apparent.

1. Mere belief may be weak and motiveless, and thus it may result in indifference as to action; or it may be a mere opinion, the holding or not holding of which is not felt to be a matter of consequence; or it may be a mere notion taken up without sufficient evidence.

2. Mere trust in a person or thing, may result from confidence in the word of another, or in the actions of others, or from something in our experience teaching us that we may venture, though we know no reason why we should thus trust. Thus some one tells us that this is the train we wish to take–or we go over a bridge over which others have gone–or we ford a stream through which we see by tracks that others have driven. Here our trust is much more, if not altogether, in the testimony of others than in any knowledge of, or confidence in that to which we commit ourselves.

It is only through the combination of the two that we have faith, which must be an intelligent trust. By it we believe not only in him upon whom we trust, but we do so because we believe the facts which make him trustworthy.

Hence it is that the Scriptures use it in the twofold sense, uniting the two ideas in the case of believers in Christ, because not only do they rely upon Jesus, but, from the belief of the facts concerning him taught in God’s word; they know whom they have believed, and why they should believe him.

Christian faith, therefore, is personal reliance upon Christ for salvation because of belief of God’s testimony as to our sinful and ruined condition, and as to what Christ has assuredly done to save us.

It is based, therefore, upon the knowledge of this testimony as given by our own consciences and the word of God. It is consequently an act of the mind. As the truth thus apprehended is spiritual, so it is apprehended spiritually by the heart. As it occurs in the heart of a sinner, so it must be the act of a regenerated heart which alone is inclined to such belief as constitutes trust. And it is attained by this heart through the illuminating influences of the Spirit of God.

III. The nature of saving faith will further appear by noticing its objects.

These objects are not mere abstract truths, nor opinions, nor facts, but only such as are connected with a person.

1. One object of faith is God the Father, not considered alone as the Father, but both as Father, and as representing the Godhead.

(1.) As representing the Godhead. As such, it has him also for its object, not in all the aspects he bears to man, for it does not apprehend him as Creator, Preserver, Ruler, or Benefactor. These are aspects believed in, but they are not the basis of saving faith.

This has respect to him only in those relations in which he is viewed in special connection with salvation.

(a) As a God of holiness, hating sin, himself infinite in purity, before whom even the angels are chargeable with folly.

(b) As a God of justice, who will certainly punish every sin, even the least.

(c) As the righteous judge, who will show no favor, and who has appointed a day wherein he will judge the world.

(d) As the omniscient searcher of hearts, who knoweth even the most secret thoughts and intents of the heart.

(e) As the almighty and living God, into whose hands it is a fearful thing to fall.

(f) As the God who delights not in the death, but rather in the salvation of the wicked.

(g) As the God, whose love for the world has sent his own Son for its salvation.

(h) As a God, merciful and gracious, and long suffering, etc. Ex. 34:6, 7.

(i) As a God, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.

(j) As a God, promising and giving the aid of his Spirit to such as seek him.

(k) As a God, that justifies those who trust in him for pardon through Christ.

(l) As a God, that can and will secure the final salvation of his people. John 10:28, 29; Rom. 11:29; Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:5.

(2.) In God the Father as Father.

(a) Who hath, from the beginning, chosen us in Christ. 2 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:4.

(b) Who hath loved us. 2 Thess. 2:16; 1 John 4:19.

(c) Who hath adopted us as sons, 1 John 3:1, 2, and consequently as joint heirs with Christ, Rom. 8:17.

(d) As the unchangeable bestower of grace. James 1:17; Rom. 11:29.

(e) As the author of exceeding great and precious promises. 2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 1:20.

2. Another object of faith is Christ.

(1.) In his person and work.

(a) As Son of God, giving dignity and value to the work of atonement.

(b) As man; as duly representing us, as having properly suffered for us, and as fully sympathizing with us.

(c) As the Godman, so uniting the divine and human natures in one person, that we can say that he that is the Son of God, the Lord of glory, bore our sins and died for our salvation.

(2.) In his testimony, as to himself as sent by God, and as to his work as approved of God.

(3.) In his abounding love and grace, as seen in his humiliation, and the greatness of his personal sacrifice for us.

(4.) In his earnest desire that sinners should come to God through him.

(5.) In his assurances of the answers of our prayers.

(6.) In his promises of grace unto the end.

(7.) In his constant presence with us, sympathizing, aiding, pleading for us, and securing our acceptance with God.

(8.) In all his offices, Prophet, Priest, and King.

3. The Holy Spirit is also an object of faith.

(1.) As to his promised presence.

(2.) As to the work within the heart, being his work.

(3.) As to his power to accomplish it unto the end.

REMARK. It is thus seen that not only the Godhead as such, but the separate persons in it, are objects of saving faith. Hence the union of them all in Baptism. Even if it be true that “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” means that a different formula was used, still this baptism involved a knowledge of the Trinity, and would have been virtually a baptism with respect to that Trinity.

IV. The nature of saving faith may be still further seen by noticing other words by which it is expressed. [See Gill’s Divinity, 2:395-400 for full statement of following points taken, except the fourth, from him.]

1. As looking to Christ. Isa. 45:22; Micah 7:7. Illustrated by the uplifted serpent. John 3:14, 15.

2. As coming to him. Isa. 55:1; Matt. 11:28; John 6:37, 44, 45, 65.

3. As fleeing to him and laying hold upon him. Heb. 6:18.

4. As eating and drinking him. John 6:51-58.

5. As receiving him. Col. 2:6.

V. That the above is the nature of saving faith will still further appear by contrasting with it other kinds of faith which have been attempted to be substituted for it.

1. Implicit faith. Romanists claim that faith must be in the church,–simply in it; in its doctrines so far as known; but in them as believed upon the church’s authority and not upon any other apprehension of their truth.

This is really to make the church a fetish, a mere charm which gives salvation simply to one who trusts salvation in its hands.

It is as though, with our belief implicitly in the Bible, we should say that one who believes the Bible is saved, whether he knows its contents or not.

Our trust, neither in Christ, nor in the Bible, is of this kind. It is based upon an intelligent, not a blind confidence of the truths taught. We simply put blind faith in anything we do not comprehend, because God has taught it. But the whole hope of salvation and faith, in every other respect which is effective and operative, is in what we believe, not in the fact that it is true, but in the knowledge which the fact that it is true conveys to us. Our salvation does not rest in the belief that the books of the Bible teach the truth, but in belief of the things which they teach.

2. Historical faith. This is a mere intellectual belief of the truths taught in the Scriptures as historical facts; as that there was such a person as Jesus, who, being the Son of God, wrought out salvation and has now commanded all men to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.

One fact that favours the substitution of this for the faith which trusts in Christ with the heart, is that in the apostolic days, such was the danger of professing Christ that none would be apt to do so, who did not heartily believe in him. Another is that as the new religion presented itself in salient points in opposition to the old, the acceptance of these points could be due only to a heartfelt belief in Jesus. Hence the language of 1 John 4:15, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God,” and other similar passages.

Fortunately, however, we have sufficient teaching to show what is the true faith.

There is the case of Simon Magus, Acts 8:13-24. Manifestly he had historical faith, and yet the Apostle is led to say of him, verse 21, “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” The case of Judas also is one of bare historical faith.

That faith, however, is a work of the heart, is manifest from the following passages:

Acts 2:37. “They were pricked in their heart.”

Rom. 10:8-10. “Shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, * * * with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.”

See an illustration of the difference between historical faith and hearty acceptance of the truth in John 12:42, 43 and Rom. 10:16-21.

2 Cor. 3:3. “In tables that are hearts of flesh,” also verse 6, “the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”

Heb. 10:22. “Let us draw near with a true heart.”

2 Tim. 2:22. Christians are described as those who “call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

It is also proved by all we have seen of the necessity and nature of Regeneration, Conversion and Repentance.

Hodge, [Outlines, p. 473,] gives this further proof from the effects of faith. “The Scriptures declare that by faith the Christian `embraces the promises,’ `is persuaded of the promises,’ `out of weakness is made strong,’ `waxes valiant in fight,’ `confesses himself a stranger and pilgrim seeking a better country.'” As faith in a threatening necessarily involves fear, so faith in a promise necessarily involves trust. “Besides, faith rests upon the trustworthiness of God and, therefore, necessarily involves trust. Heb. 10:23 and the whole 11th chapter.”

3. Assurance of personal interest in Christ’s salvation; so that one may say, I know that Christ died for me, that I am one of his elect, that my sins were removed by him, and I have been reconciled to God by him.

Such cannot be the nature of saving faith, because.

(1) This is not the experience of an early, but of an advanced stage of Christian life.

(2) Because this is not the object of Christian faith. That object is Christ, and the statements of God’s truth concerning him and salvation. Those statements are general so far as the revelation is made. They are made personal by our acceptance. But our faith enters into that condition. If we can satisfy ourselves that our faith is undoubtedly genuine, not merely temporary, but actually one rooted in Christ, we may gain this assurance, but that assurance would rest not on God’s word, nor on Christ’s salvation, but on the evidence afforded by the Spirit’s work in our hearts. [See Hodge’s Outlines, p. 478.]

(3) The Scriptures give an example in Paul of a true Christian who could say “I buffet my body and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.” 1 Cor. 9:27. See also Phil. 3:12-14.

(4) “From the exhortations addressed to those who were already believers to attain to assurance as a degree of faith beyond that which they already enjoyed.” [Hodge’s Outlines, p. 478.]

(5) “From the experience of God’s people in all ages.” [Hodge’s Outlines, p. 478.]

Rem. 1st. The assurance, however, which is not thus a part of saving faith, is one which can be attained, and doubtless frequently has been attained.

(a) This is directly asserted. Rom. 8:16; 2 Pet. 1:10; 1 John 2:3; 3:14; 5:13.

(b) Scriptural examples are given of its attainment, as Paul. 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:7, 8.

(c) “Many eminent Christians have enjoyed an abiding assurance, of the genuineness of which their holy walk and conversation was an indubitable seal.” [Hodge’s Outlines, p. 478.]

Rem. 2d. The grounds upon which a man can be assured of salvation are

(a) The divine truth of the promises of salvation.

(b) The inward evidence of those graces unto which those promises are made.

(c) The testimony of the Spirit of adoption, Rom. 8:15, 16, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God, which Spirit, Eph. 1:13, 14; 2 Cor. 1:21, 22, is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption. [West. Conf., chap 18, quoted in Hodge’s Outlines, p. 479.]

“This genuine assurance,” says Hodge (Outlines p. 479), “may be distinguished from that presumptuous confidence which is a delusion of Satan, chiefly by these marks. True assurance, 1st, begets unfeigned humility, 1 Cor. 15;10; Gal. 6:14; 2d, leads to ever increasing diligence in practical religion, Ps. 51:12, 13, 19; 3d, to candid self-examination and a desire to be searched and corrected by God, Ps. 139:23, 24; 4th, to constant aspirations after nearer conformity and more intimate communion with God, 1 John 3:2, 3.”

4. Temporary or delusive faith. This has many marks of a true faith. Hence it is not only the intellectual reception of historical facts, but a joyful acceptance of them. This is the case of the seed in the stony places which represents the man that heareth the word and anon with joy receiveth it. But the parable teaches us that the soil was not prepared. It is, therefore, not in the regenerated heart that it arises. The evidence of its temporary character, therefore, will soon appear. It lacks the following characteristics of saving faith and may thus be distinguished from it:

(1.) Continuance in trusting Christ, and in devotion to him and his service.

(2.) Desire to be useful in the work of Christ.

(3.) Attendance to Christian duty.

(4.) Love of prayer and the word of God, and of the meetings with his people for worship.

(5.) Devoted love to the children of God as such.

(6.) Progress in knowledge of self and sin, and of Christ as a Saviour.

(7.) Progress in loving holiness and hating sin, with increased conviction of, and humility concerning sinfulness.

VI. It is through this saving faith that we attain vital union with Christ. It is, however, not a meritorious ground, nor a procuring cause of such union, but simply the mere act of clinging to him and trusting in him which becomes the instrumental cause of such union. Rom. 4:16.

1. There are several senses in which Christians are spoken of as in Christ.

(1.) By election; “Chosen in him.”

(2.) By federal representation in his atoning work.

(3.) From the union of believers with him by faith.

Rom. 16:7. “Who also were in Christ before me.”

2 Cor. 5;17. “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.”

2. This union is represented in the Scriptures by the figure of a vine and its branches in John 15:1-6, by that of a living stone unto which as lively stones Christians are built up a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:4-6), by Christ, as the head, of whom Christians are the members (Eph. 4:16), and as husband and bride (the church), Eph. 5:25-32. [Hodge’s Outlines, p. 483.]

3. On the one hand this union does not involve any mysterious confusion of the person of Christ with the persons of his people; and on the other hand it is not such a mere association of separate persons as exists in human societies. But it is a union which (1.) determines our legal status on the same basis with his, (2.), which revives and sustains, by the influence of his indwelling Spirit, our spiritual life from the fountain of his life, and which transforms our bodies and souls into the likeness of his glorified humanity.

It is therefore

“(1.) A spiritual union. Its actuating source and bond is the spirit of the head, who dwells and works in the members.” 1 Cor. 6:17; 12;13; 1 John 3:24; 4:13.

“(2.) A vital union, i.e. our spiritual life is sustained and determined in its nature and movement by the life of Christ through the indwelling of the Spirit.” John 14:19; Gal. 2:20.

“(3.) It embraces our entire persons, our bodies through our spirits.” 1 Cor. 6:15, 19.

“(4.) It is a legal or federal union, so that all of our legal or covenant responsibilities rest upon Christ, and all his legal or covenant merits accrue to us.”

“(5.) It is an indissoluble union.” John 10:38; Rom. 8:35, 37; 1 Thess. 4:14, 17.

“(6.) This union is between the believer and the person of the Godman in his office as Mediator. Its immediate instrument is the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, and through him we are vitally united to and commune with the whole Godhead since he is the Spirit of the Father, as well as of the Son.” John 14:23; 17:21, 23. [Hodge’s Outlines, pp. 483 and 484.]

VII. The difference between faith and hope.

That they are not the same is evident from 1 Cor. 13:13, where they are plainly distinguished from each other; also in Rom. 5:2-5; 1Pet. 1:21; Heb. 11:1. Illustrated by Rom. 4:18.

It is objected that the view taken, that saving faith involves trust, makes it the same as hope, and, therefore, faith must be of such a nature, as not to include trust.

But Christian faith and hope differ,

1. In their nature. (a) Faith is a reliance upon something now present as known or believed. Hope is looking forward to something in the future, with more or less expectation of receiving it. Faith may become the assurance of things hoped for but not the hope that looks forward to them.

Faith is belief, Hope is expectation. Each involves the idea of trust, but with the use of different prepositions. Faith is trust in or reliance upon any person or thing. Hope is trust of some person or thing, or expectation of the happening of something desirable.

See every passage in Cruden’s Concordance where “hope” is, of which the following are specimens: Acts 23:6; 24:15; 26:6; 28:20; Rom. 8:24; 15:4; 1 Cor. 15:19; 2 Cor. 3:12; Col. 1:5, 23, 27; 1 Thess. 5:8.

(b) Joyful expectation enters into the nature of hope, but not into that of faith. It is only because the things believed beget a joyful hope, that the Christian’s trust can be mistaken for hope.

2. Hope is the result or effect of faith and, therefore, not faith itself. Rom. 5:2-5; Rom. 15:4, 13; Gal. 5:5; Heb. 11:1.

3. They differ in their objects. Faith rests upon Christ and his work for our salvation and upon the promises made of blessings. Hope rests in the blessings resultant from that work and those promises. Its object is salvation, freedom from sin, heaven, glory hereafter. We cannot say we have faith in salvation, but in the Saviour and his work; we have not faith in future freedom from sin; but we have it in the promised deliverance. Likewise we have not faith in heaven or glory; but in these as promised to us.


Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

Morning Dedication

Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Thy care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to thy ways. Mould me wholly into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay. May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Thy praise. Let those around see me living by Thy Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clad in the entire armour of God, shining as a never dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands. May I travel miry paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In needful transactions let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things, my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth. Order this day all my communications according to Thy wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one.If my life should end today, let this be my best day.
Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett. Reformatted by Eternal Life Ministries.