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It is ever to be borne in mind that there is a fullness, as well as a depth, in the words of God which pertains not to those of men, so that rarely will a single and brief definition adequately explain a scriptural term

September 26, 2017 Leave a comment

22. Double reference and meaning. It is ever to be borne in mind that there is a fullness, as well as a depth, in the words of God which pertains not to those of men, so that rarely will a single and brief definition adequately explain a scriptural term. For that reason we must constantly be on our guard against limiting the scope of any Divinely inspired statement, and saying that it means only so and so. Thus, when we are told that God made man in His own image and likeness, those words probably have at least a fourfold allusion.

First, to the incarnation of the Son, for He is distinctly designated the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

Second, to man’s being a tripartite creature, for “God said, Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26)—a trinity in unity, consisting of “spirit and soul and body” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Third, in His moral likeness, which man lost at the fall, but which is restored at regeneration (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).

Fourth, to the position assigned man and the authority with which he was invested: “let them have dominion over” (Genesis 1:26). Adam was a “god” or ruler, under the Lord, of all mundane creatures.

In view of what has been pointed out, it is evident that the favorite dictum of Dispensationalist —“application is manifold, interpretation but one”—is erroneous, for the above are not four interpretations of the “image of God” from which we may choose, but the actual fourfold meaning of the term itself. To say that “interpretation is but one” is also flatly contradicted by our Lord’s explanation of the parable of the sower, for when He defined its terms He gave three or four different significations to the “thorns”— compare Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:18, 19; Luke 8:14. We are in hearty accord with paragraph nine in the opening chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith, when it says, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly,” except that we dissent from the limitation mentioned in the parentheses. We much prefer to side with Joseph Caryl (one of the framers of the Westminster Confession), who, when commenting on a verse the words of which were susceptible of various meanings, and which had been diversely explained by expositors, said, “In a Scripture which may, without the impeachment of any truth, admit divers sense, I would not be so positive in one as to reject all others.”

Even if it were true that the grammatical meaning of a verse be only one, nevertheless it may have a double reference, as is certainly the case with some of the prophecies in Holy writ, which possess a major and a minor fulfillment. In his introduction to the book of Revelation in Ellicottcommentary, when writing upon prophecy, its annotator said, “The words of God mean more than one man or one school of thought can compass. There are depths of Truth unexplored which lie beneath the simplest sentences. Just as we are wont to say that history repeats itself, so the predictions of the Bible are not exhausted in one or even many fulfillments. Each prophecy is a single key which unlocks many doors, and the grand and stately drama of the Apocalypse has been played out perchance in one age to be repeated in the next.” We greatly fear that it is nothing but narrow-minded partisanship which has caused so many to disdain such a concept, and made them reject all other interpretations which accord not with their own particular system. David said, “Thy commandment is exceeding broad” (Psalm 119:96): let us see to it that we do not contract or limit the same.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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Man is a double being: he is composed of body and soul, and each of the portions of man may receive injury and hurt

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

We will not delay you by a preface, but will come at once to the two thoughts; First, here is a great ill-a broken heart; and secondly, a great mercy-”he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”

Man is a double being: he is composed of body and soul, and each of the portions of man may receive injury and hurt. The wounds of the body are extremely painful, and if they amount to a breaking of the frame the torture is singularly exquisite. Yet God has in his mercy provided means whereby wounds may be healed and injuries repaired. The soldier who retires from the battle-field, knows that he shall find a hand to extricate the shot, and certain ointments and liniments to heal his wounds. We very speedily care for bodily diseases; they are too painful to let us slumber in silence; and they soon urge us to seek a physician or a surgeon for our healing. Oh, if we were as much alive to the more serious wounds of our inner man; if we were as deeply sensible of spiritual injuries, how earnestly should we cry to “the Beloved Physician,” and how soon should we prove his power to save. Stabbed in the most vital part by the hand of our original parent, and from head to foot disabled by our own sin, we yet remain as insensible as steel, careless and unmoved, because though our wounds are known they are not felt. We should count that soldier foolish, who would be more anxious to repair a broken helmet than an injured limb. Are not we even more to be condemned, when we give precedence to the perishing fabric of the body, and neglect the immortal soul? You, however, who have broken hearts, can no longer be insensible; you have felt too acutely to slumber in indifference. Your bleeding spirit cries for consolation: may my glorious Master give me word in season for you. We intend to address you upon the important subject of broken hearts, and the great healing provided for them.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Healing the Wounded” A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, November 11, 1855

The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit him

September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Their foot shall slide in due time (Deut. Xxxii. 35).

The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this. “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God’s mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment.

The truth of this observation may appear by the following considerations.

5. The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit him. They belong to him; he has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion. The scripture represents them as his goods, Luke 11:12. The devils watch them; they are ever by them at their right hand; they stand waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions that see their prey, and expect to have it, but are for the present kept back. If God should withdraw his hand, by which they are restrained, they would in one moment fly upon their poor souls. The old serpent is gaping for them; hell opens its mouth wide to receive them; and if God should permit it, they would be hastily swallowed up and lost.

Jonathan Edwards- Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 135

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

TO MR. JOSHUA KEEVIL

WESTWOOD, April 5, 1888.

DEAR FRIEND, —

Where shall I find another heart so true, or warm as yours? I have been made ill by the heavy strain upon me, but love like yours is a cordial medicine. God bless you, dear Mr. Keevil! Your noble gift will help to bring up the Supper Gifts to an amount which will cheer my heart …. Thank you a thousand times over. I pray the Lord to prosper you, and bless your substance.

How kind of you to take in so many men! They will get plenty of corn and clover.

Yours very heartily,

C. H. SPURGEON.

Duty of Preparing for the Future World: Conclusion: Book Eight

September 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Book Eighth

CONCLUSION.

This world is not such a habitation as a wise man would desire to live in for ever. The young and thoughtless expect to find happiness in it; but experience teaches that the expectation is vain and delusive. Disappointment, care, and sorrow form a large part of human life; and as men approach the end of their course, they can adopt the language of the patriarch Jacob: “Few and evil have been the days of my pilgrimage.”[1] This sad experience results from the fact, that God’s curse rests on the world, because it is full of sin: and what wise man would wish to live for ever in a habitation that God has cursed?

If this were the only world, it would be well for us to make the best of it: but we have abundant proof that another world exists; and a revelation from it has been made, by which we may learn how to obtain a portion there, that will be full of unmixed happiness, and will endure for ever. We are called on to relinquish our delusive hope of earthly good, and lay hold on the hope set before us, that is sure and certain: to give up our pursuit of the unsatisfying and short-lived pleasures of the present life, and to seek the substantial and eternal joys of the life to come. It is certainly the part of wisdom to obey this call.

Another fact needs to be considered. Whether we will or not, we are compelled to leave this world, and take up our eternal abode in another habitation, either of joy or woe. If we had all possible enjoyment here, it would be but momentary, and would not deserve a thought in comparison with eternal happiness and misery. We are rapidly passing through this world, to our eternal home. Whether, in this lodging place of wayfaring men, our comforts shall be few or many, is a matter of very little moment, and unworthy of anxious care: but it is extreme folly to be unconcerned about the world to which we are hastening, and where our condition will be fixed for ever.

There are some things in religion which are hard to be understood, and about which some persons are inclined to be skeptical: but is there any other thing so incredible, as that intelligent and immortal beings should make the things of this fleeting world their chief care, and give themselves no concern about eternity? If the fact were not daily before our eyes, who could believe it? Were the Bible to inform us that there are intelligent immortals in a remote planet who thus act, the skeptic would appear almost excusable who should doubt the truth of the statement; but that book tells us of men, intelligent and immortal men, who are blinded by the god of this world, and led captive by him at his will, and who do not consider their latter end, but rush on to destruction, as the ox goeth to the slaughter. This testimony, than which the Bible contains nothing more incredible, is verified by the whole history of mankind. From this reigning folly even Christian men are but partly delivered. Even they perpetually need the exhortation, “Be not conformed to this world;”[2] and, to preserve them from the fascinating power of “the things seen, which are temporal,” they should look habitually at `the things which are unseen and eternal.” For this purpose, the doctrine concerning the future world is to them very important. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith:”[3] and faith, being “the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen,”[4] must lay hold on the realities of the invisible and future world.

The doctrine concerning the future world teaches us to set a proper value on earthly good. If the honors of the world tempt us, let us remember that, in the grave, the king and the meanest of his subjects will lie on the same level, and mingle with the same dust; and that, in the resurrection, the noble of the earth, who have not sought the honor that cometh from God, will rise to shame and everlasting contempt. If the pleasures of the world invite, let us conceive of them as the bait with which Satan would ensnare our souls, and lead them into everlasting torments. If our hearts incline, at any time, to covetousness, let us contemplate the rich man in hell, stripped of all his possessions, and unable to procure a drop of water to cool his parched tongue. So let us keep eternity directly in view; and, in its light, the honors, pleasures, and wealth of this world will lose their lustre, and cease to charm.

This doctrine teaches us how to bear the afflictions of life. The heaviest affliction that can crush the spirit here, is far lighter than the weight of wrath which falls on the wicked in the world to come. Why, then, should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?[5] So long as he still lives, out of torment, out of hell, his suffering, however severe, is inconceivably less than his sins deserve. Moreover, his afflictions, if endured with humble resignation to God, are conducing to his holiness. Though light and momentary, they work out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.[6] With eternity in view, the heaviest and, most enduring anguish of this life appears light and momentary; and we can rejoice to endure it, because of the glorious effects which it will produce in the eternal world.

This doctrine teaches the value of religion. Learning and talent, agreeable manners and amiable disposition, are all worthy to be prized; but they do not secure eternal blessedness. Religion is the one thing needful, the good part that will never be taken from us.[7] Let sinners despise religion and curl the lip with scorn, when you speak of its claim on their regard: but even they, when eternity is near in prospect, learn the value of what once they despised. With eternity in view, how precious is religion! how precious the Bible which teaches it!

This doctrine endears Christ to believers. He is precious, for what he is in himself; but this preciousness is enhanced by the consideration, that it is he who delivers us from the wrath to come, who is preparing a place for us in the world of bliss, who will come and take us to himself, and for ever lead us to the fountains of living waters, in that land of everflowing delight.

This doctrine consoles us, under the loss of Christian friends. We follow them to the tomb, and our tears flow freely: but we sorrow not as those who have no hope. They are not lost to us, but have only gone home before us; and we are waiting to be sent for, when it shall be the pleasure of our heavenly Father. Our separation from them is short, for we are fast approaching our journey’s end, and then we shall join them again, never more to part.

This doctrine, if received in lively faith, enables the Christian to meet death with joy. When a man repents of sin, and believes in Christ, he is prepared to die safely; but he may nevertheless, through the weakness of his faith, be afraid to die. To meet death without fear, requires strong faith in Christ, as the Saviour of sinners. To meet death with joy, requires strong faith in the doctrine concerning the future world. When we can stand, like Moses on Pisgah’s top, and view the good land in all its beauty, our hearts leap forward, with strong desire, to go over Jordan, and possess it. We long to join the happy company who dwell for ever in the presence of our God. O to be free from sin, as they are; to behold the face of Jesus, as they do; to partake of their bliss, and unite in their everlasting hallelujahs!

Reader, what are your prospects in the future world? Have you received the love of the truth, that you may be saved? Does the truth as it is in Jesus enter your heart, with sanctifying power? Are you daily striving, by a holy life, to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things?

THE END.

[1] Gen. xlvii. 9.

[2] Rom. xii. 2.

[3] 1 John v. 4.

[4] Heb. xi. 1.

[5] Lam. iii. 39.

[6] 2 Cor. iv. 17.

[7] Luke x. 42.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Two extremes are to be guarded against, a love of the fantastic and a prejudice against what is novel

September 19, 2017 2 comments

Just so far as we really value a spiritual interpretation of God’s Word will we abominate all counterfeits. Two extremes are to be guarded against, both by those who advance and those who receive some new explanation of a passage: a love of the fantastic and a prejudice against what is novel. There is a middle ground between hastily condemning or accepting, namely to weigh carefully and prayerfully what is presented, testing it by other passages and by our own experience. Doubtless most of us can recall some interpretations which were new, and which at first struck us as being “farfetched,” but which we now regard as sound and helpful. If the Holy Spirit had not informed us that Abraham’s two wives were figures of the two covenants (Galatians 4:24), and that the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 30:11-14, were to be understood spiritually of the righteousness of faith (Romans 10:6-9), we had considered such interpretations ridiculous. Remember that God grants light to one minister which He does not to another. Even though his explanation commend not itself to you at the moment, beware of rashly calling it “a perversion of the Scriptures,” lest the same is being blessed to some poor child of God whose heart is feeding on what your head rejects.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The same God who leadeth the stars, who telleth the number of them, and calleth them by their names, healeth the broken in heart

September 18, 2017 Leave a comment

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” — Psalm 147:3.

The next verse finely declares the power of God. “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” Perhaps there is nothing which gives us a nobler view of the greatness of God, than a contemplation of the starry heavens. When by night we lift up our eyes and behold him who hath created all these things; when we remember that he bringeth out their host by number, calleth them all by their names, and that by the greatness of his power not one faileth, then indeed we adore a mighty God, and our soul naturally falls prostrate in reverential awe before the throne of him who leads the host of heaven, and marshalls the stars in their armies; but the Psalmist has here placed another fact side by side with this wondrous act of God; he declares that the same God who leadeth the stars, who telleth the number of them, and calleth them by their names, healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. The next time you rise to some idea of God by viewing the starry floor of his magnificent temple above, strive to compel your contemplation to this thought-that the same mighty hand which rolls the stars along, puts liniments around the wounded heart; that the same being who spoke the worlds into existence, and now impels those ponderous globes through their orbits, does in his mercy cheer the wounded, and heal the broken in heart.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Healing the Wounded” A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, November 11, 1855