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Archive for January, 2022

The Recipients of Mercy – Sanctuary Sinners

Spurgeon 1Again, there are some who may be termed sanctuary sinners-sinners in Zion-and these are the worst of sinners. I can usually tell whether inquirers have been the children of pious parents or no, if after a confession of great guilt they feel unable to proceed at the remembrance of what they once were groaning, and sobbing, and tears running down their cheeks, are the silent language of their woe. When I see this, I always know that the language that succeeds will be: “I have been the child of pious parents; and I feel that I am one of the worst of sinners, because I was brought up to religion; and yet I disregarded it, and turned aside from it.” O yes, the worst of sinners are sinners in Zion, because they sin against light and knowledge; they force their way to hell, as John Bunyan says, over the Cross of Christ; and the worst way to hell is to go by the cross to it. Many of you now before me were consecrated to God by a beloved mother, and your father taught you to read and love the Scriptures of truth. You were brought up like Timothy; you well understand the theory of the way of salvation, and yet you come here, young men, some of you enemies to God and without Christ, and despisers of his word; some of you are even scoffers, or if not actually scoffers, you say religion is nought to you, and by your actions, if not by your words, declare it is nothing to you that Jesus should die. Ah! When I speak to you, I would not forget myself. Should it ever be my lot to wake up in hell, I should be amongst the most horribly damned there, for I had a most pious training, and should be forced to take my place with the sanctuary sinners. And you that are such, whom I am addressing now, are you not afraid? Ask yourselves now, “Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire?” Do you tremble and shake for fear, and with a penitent heart desire forgiveness? If so, then I say again, in my Master’s name-who spake nothing but love and mercy to penitent sinners, who said, “Neither do I condemn thee”-Jehovah now declares “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Forgiveness, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 20, 1855; at Exeter Hall.

The last result I shall mention is, that any established religion ceases instantly to be the true religion

Christianity, as revealed by Messiah, necessarily involves individual inquiry, belief, and profession. An established religion is exactly the opposite, since it demands unexamining conformity. The gospel defers every thing to the conscience:—”Let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind,” and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” A state religion disregards the conscience altogether. The gospel requires men to reject every false religion. A state system compels men to embrace, right or wrong, the religion of their country. The gospel invites men to form a voluntary society upon conviction as men. An established religion herds them together by law, as animals, within the enclosure of a national ritual. The gospel binds every man to search after truth, to receive it, to maintain it, and to promulgate it, in opposition to error, however venerable and popular. All this is by every state religion denounced and prohibited. The union of church and state is therefore, in all cases, inevitably, and necessarily, iniquitous in itself, and full of evil in all its bearings, and relations, social, political, and religious. It is unscriptural, it binds the consciences of men, it suppresses inquiry, it subjects the wise and good to be governed by the ignorant and vicious, it is a horrible engine of persecution, it is an injury to the state as well as to the church, and impedes and prevents the extension of the gospel, and the conversion of the nations. “I am thoroughly convinced that this unChristian connection between the church and the state [which has ever prevailed in Europe] has done more mischief to the gospel than all the ravings of infidelity since the crucifixion. It converts good Christians into bad statesmen, and political knaves into pretended Christians. It is at best, but a foul and adulterous connection, polluting the purity of heaven with the abominations of earth, and hanging the tatters of a political piety upon the cross of an insulted Savior.”[138] Such is the union of church and state, in its origin, character, and results.

Ours is the first Christian country, and the only one, since the reign of Constantine, in the government of which this union has been repudiated and denounced as a monstrous evil. In the sentiments, therefore, which I have here expressed, I expect to have the concurrence of every true-hearted American Christian. But the union of church and state rests for its foundation upon infant baptism, without which it cannot exist. Destroy infant baptism, and you destroy the union of church and state. That unhallowed relation is no longer possible. Is it consistent to repudiate and condemn the connection, and at the same time uphold the platform that supports and perpetuates it? Can you deprecate the result while you continue to defend the cause? He who defends infant baptism defends the union of church and state. For the enormities of every state religion, Catholic and Protestant, infant baptism is, as we have fully shown, justly chargeable. Therefore infant baptism is an enormous evil.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 12- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it is the Grand Foundation upon which rest the Union of Church and State

“THROUGH FLOODS AND FLAMES”

THERE are many dear children, both boys and girls, who have not been ashamed in their early days to come forward and confess the Lord Jesus Christ. God bless the dear children! I rejoice in them. I am sure that the church will never have to be ashamed of having admitted them. They, at least, show no cowardice: they take a solemn delight in being numbered with the people of God, and count it an honor to be associated with Christ and his church. Shame on you older ones who still hold back! What ails you, that babes and sucklings are braver than you? By the love you bear to Christ, I charge you — come forth and confess his name among this evil and perverse generation.

Is it true? Then joyfully accept the trial which comes of it. Shrink not from the flames. Settle it in your minds that, by divine grace, no loss, nor cross, nor shame, nor suffering, shall make you play the coward. Say, like the holy children, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter.” They did not cringe before the king, and cry, “We beseech thee, do not throw us into the fiery furnace. Let us have a consultation with thee, O king, that we may arrange terms. There may be some method by which we can please thee, and yet keep our religion.” “No;” they said, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Dear friends, let us be ready to suffer for Christ’s sake. Some will say, “Do not be imprudent.” It is always prudent to do your duty. We have not enough nowadays of the virtue nicknamed imprudence. I would like to see a display of old-fashioned imprudence in these cold, calculating, selfish days. Oh for the days of zeal, the days when men counted not their lives dear to them that they might win Christ! Men sit down and reckon up what it will cost them to do right, and weigh their conduct as a matter of profit and loss, and then they call such wicked calculations prudence. It is sheer selfishness. Do right, if it cost you your life. Where would England have been if the men who won our liberties in former ages had chaffered with the world for gain? If they had saved their skins they would have lost their souls, and ruined the cause of God in England. He loves not Christ who does not love him more than all things. Oh for men of principle, who know no loss but loss of faith, and desire no gain save the glory of God! Be this your cry—

Through floods or flames, if Jesus lead,

Ill follow where he goes.

You may lose a great deal for Christ, but you will never lose anything by Christ. You may lose for time, but you will gain for eternity: the loss is transient, but the gain is everlasting. You will be a gainer by Christ, even if you have to go to heaven by the way of persecution, poverty, and slander. Never mind the way: the end will make full amends. The treasures of Egypt are mere dross compared with the riches of endless bliss.

If it be true that you are willing thus to follow Christ, reckon upon deliverance. Nebuchadnezzar may put you into the fire, but he cannot keep you there, nor can he make the fire burn you. The enemy casts you in bound, but the fire will loosen your bonds, and you will walk at liberty amid the glowing coals. You shall gain by your losses, you shall rise by your down-castings. Many prosperous men owe their present position to the fact that they were faithful when they were in humble employments. They were honest, and for the moment they displeased their employers, and in the end earned their esteem. When Adam Clarke was put out apprentice, and his master showed him how to stretch the cloth when it was a little short, Adam could not find in his heart to do it. Such a fool of a boy must be sent home to his mother; and his godly mother was glad that her boy was such a fool that he could not stoop to a dishonest trick. You know what he became. He might have missed his way in life if he had not been true to his principles in his youth. Your first loss may be a lifelong gain. Dear young fellow, you may be turned out of your situation, but the Lord will turn the curse into a blessing. If all should go softly with you, you might decline in character, and by doing a little wrong learn to do yet more and more, and so lose your integrity, and with it all hope of ever lifting your nose from the grindstone. Do right for Christ’s sake, without considering any consequences, and the consequences will be right enough.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘Through Floods and Flames’

The Wednesday Word: God’s Blood?

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood” Acts 20:28.

Since when, we must ask, did God ever have blood? Surely God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and a Spirit does not have blood? … True … But that does not mean God does not have blood!

“Explain?”

Jesus Christ, the man who was God, as a man had blood and this blood is clearly called ‘God’s blood’ which proves once more that Jesus is God.

Let me say the same thing another way. Since this scripture plainly tells us that God purchased the Church with His own blood and we know that it was Christ Jesus who shed His blood for the purchase, then we must conclude once more that Jesus Christ is God.

To know that He who hung upon the cross was our Lord, Master and God must surely move us to lives of dedication to His purposes. It is this very knowledge that He who shed His blood was none other than the Lord God that has motivated innumerable Christian workers through the ages.

But of course, the detractors say this verse (Acts 20:28) is not really in the Bible or it is a mistranslation and surprise, surprise, according to them, it means something entirely different than what it says. We need, they say, a thorough working knowledge of the Greek before we attempt to understand this verse for ourselves. And where would we be, after all, if we did not have them to teach us the true meaning?

Ah well! As the old farmer said, “What else do you expect from a pig but a grunt?” This verse plainly states that God and Jesus Christ are one and the same. Don’t ever listen to those who are so confused they tell you that Paul never called Jesus God. He just did it in this verse.

Think of it, the Eternal God came here to go to the cross and buy us back with His blood.

God nailed to a cross? Who could possibly conceive of such a thing?

God nailed to a cross? What madness of judgment on the part of those who put him there!

God nailed to a cross? What a journey from the glory to the gory!

God nailed to a cross? What amazing restraint on the part of the Almighty to allow His creatures to nail him to the wood!

God on a cross? As someone once observed, ‘Humanity at its worst, Deity at its best!”

The great Henry Law said,

—– look then from other things towards this cross. Look with assured faith. He, who hangs there is verily the mighty God. Therefore, divinity belongs to those deep wounds. They have infinity of merit to expiate infinity of guilt. He wears your form—He bears your nature—that His sufferings may be accounted, as your own. In Him all power—all fitness—all sufficiency combine … He is God’s glory in the highest.

That which gives the blood its authority and worth is that it is God’s blood. If Jesus had been merely a good upstanding man, a noble martyr or even a saintly person the shedding of His blood would have accomplished nothing. If He had been merely a man, His blood would have been worthless because all men of Adam’s line are born sinners. Spurgeon takes this up saying,

“If Christ were a mere man…there would be no power in His blood to save; but Christ was “very God of very God;” …. It was the blood of man, for He was man like ourselves; but the divinity was so allied with the manhood, that the blood derived efficacy (effectiveness) from it… the unceasing wonder of eternity, that God should become a man to die … Because He is divine, He is “able to save to the uttermost, them that come unto God by him.” His blood is the blood whereby ye may escape the anger and the wrath of God” (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Blood,” (The New Park Street Pulpit, Vol 5).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

From what has been said as to these things, this I collect as the sum

From this consideration, two things present themselves to our sight.

II. There have been, and may yet be a people in the world that have, and may suffer in the sense of the apostle here, according to the will of God.

Second, To prove this by reason is easy. The devil is not yet shut up in the bottomless pit-Antichrist is yet alive. The government in all kingdoms is not yet managed with such light, and goodness of mind, as to let the saints serve God, as he has said, whatever it is in some. And until then there will be in some places, though for my part I cannot predict where, a people that will yet suffer for well-doing, or for righteousness’ sake.

In order to a right handling of this matter, I shall divide this head into these two parts-

A. Show you what it is to suffer for well-doing, or for righteousness.

B. Show you what it is to suffer for righteousness’ sake. I put this distinction, because I find that it is one thing to suffer for righteousness, and another to suffer for righteousness’ sake.

[A. What it is to suffer for well-doing, or righteousness.]

From what has been said as to these things, this I collect as the sum-

1. That man by nature is in a state of wrath and condemnation (Eph 2:1-4; John 3:18).

2. That the natural man, by all his natural abilities, is not able to recover himself from this his condemned condition (John 6:44; Eph 1:19,20).

3. That a man may have right notions of gospel things, that hath no grace in his heart (1 Cor 13:2,3).

4. That to add human inventions to Christ’s institutions, and to make them of the same force and necessity, of the same authority and efficacy, is nought; and not to be subjected to (Isa 29:13; Matt 15:8,9; Mark 7:6,7).

So then, he that saith these things, saith true; for the Scriptures say the same. This, then, is a good cause to suffer for, if men will that I shall suffer for saying so; because it is that which is founded upon the Word of God; and the Word is the ground and foundation of all true doctrine. Let him, then, that believeth what is here discoursed, and that liveth soberly and peaceably in this belief among his neighbours, stand by what he hath received, and rejoice that he hath found the truth. And if any shall afflict or trouble him for holding of these things, they afflict or trouble him for holding to good things; and he suffereth at their hands because his cause is good.

And such an one may with boldness, as to this, make his appeal to the Bible, which is the foundation of his principles, and to God the author of that foundation, if what he holds is not good. He may say, “Lord, I have said, that man by nature is in a state of condemnation, and they make me suffer for that. Lord, I have asserted that man, by all his natural abilities, is not able to recover himself from this his condemned state, and they make me suffer for that. Lord, I have said that a natural man may have right notions of the gospel, and yet be without the saving grace thereof, and they make me suffer for that. Lord, I cannot consent that human inventions and doctrines of men should be joined with thy institution as matters of worship, and imposed upon my conscience as such, and they make me suffer for that. Lord, I own the government, pray for my superiors, live quietly among my neighbours, give to all their dues, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, relieve the afflicted, and show myself, by my faith and life, to be a true Christian man, and yet my neighbours will not let me alone. True, I cannot comply with all that some men would have me comply with; no more did Daniel, no more did Paul; and yet Daniel said, that he had to the king done no hurt (Dan 6:22), and Paul said, ‘neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended anything at all'” (Acts 25:8).

For he that keeps within the compass of God’s Word, hurts no man, gives just offence to no man, though he complieth not with all that are modes and ways of worship in the world. Nor can this appeal be judged injurious, if it be not attended with intercessions against them that hate us. But we will pass this, and come to a second thing.

John Bunyan- Seasonable Counsel or Advise to Sufferers

Their mystical import had respect unto the spiritual well-being of the church and its members

Arthur PinkFrom all that has been said it should now be abundantly clear that, while the literal aspect of the promises made to Noah concerned the temporal welfare of the earth and its inhabitants yet their mystical import had respect unto the spiritual well-being of the church and its members. This same two-foldedness will come before us again yet more plainly, when we consider the rainbow, which was the sign and seal of the Noahic covenant. It seems strange that those who perceived that the laws which God gave unto Israel respecting the eating only of fishes with scales and fins and animals which divided the hoof and chewed the cud, had not only a temporal or hygienic value, but a mystical or spiritual meaning as well, should have failed to discern that the same dual feature holds good in respect to all the details of the Noahic covenant.

Once this key is firmly grasped by us, it is not difficult to reach the inner contents contained in the benediction which the Lord pronounced after He had smelled the sweet savor of Noah’s offering. The guarantee that the earth should not again be destroyed by a flood (as the Adamic earth had been) pointed to the eternal security of the saints—a security assured by the vastly superior position which is now theirs from what they had in Adam, namely, their inalienable portion in Christ. The promise that while the earth remained seed-time and harvest should not fail, contained as its inner kernel the divine pledge that as long as the saints were left below, God would supply all their need “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The fact that those blessings were promised after Noah and his family had come on to resurrection and new-creation ground, foreshadowed the blessed truth that the believer’s standing is no longer “in the flesh.” Noah is the figure of Christ.

First, as the remover of the curse from a corrupted earth, and as the rest-giver to those who, with sorrow of heart and sweat of the brow, had to till and eat of it (Gen. 5:29; Matthew 11:28).

Second, as the heir of the new earth, wherein there shall be “no more curse” (Gen. 8:21; Rev. 22:3).

Third, as the one into whose hands all things were now delivered (Gen. 9:2; John 17:2; Heb. 1:2).

Noah’s sons or seed were the figure of the church. With him they were “blessed” (Gen. 9:1; cf. Eph. 1:3). With him they were given dominion over all the lower creatures: so the saints have been made “kings and priests unto God” (Rev. 1:6) and shall “reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:12). With him they were bidden to be “fruitful” and “bring forth abundantly” (Gen. 9:7): so Christians are to abound in fruit and in every good work. The fact that this covenant was an absolute or unconditional one tells us of the immutability of our blessings in Christ.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Three-The Noahic Covenant

The Recipients of Mercy – Useless People

CharlesSpurgeonYet, again, these people were a useless people. “Neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices; but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins.” It is well said, the chief end of man is to glorify God. For that purpose God made the sun, moon, and stars, and all his works, that they might honor him. And yet how many are there, even, perhaps among my hearers this morning, who have never honored God in their lives. Ask yourselves what have you done? If you were to write your own history, it would be little better than that of Belzon’s toad, which existed in the rock for three thousand years; you may have lived like it, but you have done nothing. What souls have you ever won to the Savior? How has his name been magnified by you? Have you ever served him? How have you ever worked for him? What have you done for God? Have you not been cumberers of the ground; taking the nourishment of the earth where some better tree might have grown, and bearing no fruit to the great husbandman, or at least, only a few sorry crabs, that were not worth his acceptance. For all you have done, the world might as well have never known you. You have not been even so much use as the glowworm, which, at least, serves to light the steps of the traveler. The world may possibly be glad to get rid of some of you, and rejoice when you are gone. Perhaps you have assisted in destroying the souls of those with whom you have been connected in life. You can recollect the time when you led that young man first into the ale house. You can remember the hour when you swore a most horrible oath; your child was within hearing, and learned to be profane also. You may look upon some souls who are going even now to damnation through your example; and in hell you may see spirits starting up from their iron beds, and hear them shrieking in their woe: “Who is it that led me here, and caused my soul to be destroyed?-thou art the author of my damnation.” Is the indictment true? Will you not be compelled to plead guilty to the charge? Do you not even now repent of your great transgressions? Even if it be so, my Master authorises me to say again, “This saith the Lord, I, even I, am he that blotteth out my transgressions, and will not remember thy sins.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Forgiveness, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 20, 1855; at Exeter Hall.

Another result was to give increased prevalence to infant baptism

Another result was to give increased prevalence to infant baptism, as a practice required by this new relation.

The introduction of infants, though in primitive times unknown in the Christian church, was not a new policy in bodies ecclesiastic. The children of the ancient pagans had been ever, by appropriate forms, soon after their birth, solemnly presented to the gods. Infant dedication was therefore continued, and its form of course was now baptism. Policy demanded that Christianity should be as much as possible, and particularly in its ceremonials, conformed to paganism, in order that the masses might be the more readily transferred from one religion to the other. On this subject Mr. Hinton remarks: “We find it indelibly recorded on the pages of history, that the practice of baptizing infants did not spread extensively till after Christianity became the state religion of the Roman empire.”[137]

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 12- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it is the Grand Foundation upon which rest the Union of Church and State

“BE SOBER”

January 20, 2022 11 comments

BE sober.” And does not that mean, first, moderation in all things? Do not be so excited with joy as to become childish. Do not grow intoxicated and delirious with worldly gain or honor. On the other hand, do not be too much depressed with passing troubles. There are some who are so far from sobriety that, if a little goes wrong with them, they are ready to cry, “Let me die.” No, no.

Be sober.” Keep the middle way: hold to the golden mean. There are many persons to whom this exhortation is most needful. Are there not men around us who blow hot to-day and cold tomorrow? — their heat is torrid, their cold arctic. You would think they were angels from the way they talk one day, but you might think them angels of another sort from the manner in which they act at other times. They are so high up, or so low down, that in each case they are extreme To-day they are carried away with this, and the next carried away with that. I knew a Christian man right well to whom I was accustomed to use one salutation whenever I saw him. He was a good man, but changeable. I said to him, “Good morning, friend? What are you now?” He was once a valiant Arminian, setting young people right as to the errors of my Calvinistic teaching. A short time after, he became exceedingly Calvinistic himself, and wanted to screw me up several degrees; but I declined to yield. Anon he became a Baptist, and agreed with me on all points, so far as I know. This was not good enough, and therefore he became a Plymouth Brother; and after that he went to the Church from which he originally set out. When I next met him I said, “Good morning, brother, what are you now?” He replied, “That is too bad, Mr. Spurgeon, you asked me the same question last time.” I replied, “Did I? But what are you now? Will the same answer do?” I knew it would not. I would earnestly say to all such brethren, “Be sober. Be sober.” It cannot be wise to stagger all over the road in this fashion. Make sure of your footing when you stand; make doubly sure of it before you shift.

To be sober means to have a calm, clear head, to judge things after the rule of right, and not according to the rule of mob. Be not influenced by those who cry loudest in the street, or by those who beat the biggest drum. Judge for yourselves as men of understanding. Judge as in the sight of God with calm deliberation.

Be sober,” that is, be clear-headed. The man who drinks, and thus destroys the sobriety of his body is befogged, and muddled, and has lost his way. Ceasing to be sober, he makes a fool of himself. Do not commit this sin spiritually. Be specially clear-headed and calm as to the things of God. Ask that the grace of God may so rule in your heart that you may be peaceful and serene, and not troubled with idle fear on one side or with foolish hope on the other.

Be sober,” says the apostle. You know the word translated “be sober” sometimes means “be watchful;” and indeed there is a great kinship between the two things. Live with your eyes open; do not go about the world half asleep. Many Christians are asleep. Whole congregations are asleep. The minister snores theology, and the people in the pews nod in chorus. Much sacred work is done in a sleepy style. You can have a Sunday School, and teachers and children can be asleep. You can have a tract-distributing society, with visitors going round to the doors all asleep; you can do everything in a dreamy way if so it pleases you. But says the apostle, — be watchful, be alive; brethren, look alive; be so awakened up by these grand arguments with which we have plied you already, that you shall brace yourselves up, and throw your whole strength into the service of your Lord and Master.

Finally, let us “hope to the end.” Never despair; never even doubt. Hope when things look hopeless. A sick and suffering brother rebuked me the other day for being cast down. He said to me, “We ought never to show the white feather; but I think you do sometimes.” I asked him what he meant, and he replied, “You sometimes seem to grow desponding and low. Now I am near to die, but I have no clouds and no fears.” I rejoiced to see him so joyous and I answered, “That is right, my brother, blame me as much as you please for my unbelief, I richly deserve it.” “Why,” he said, “you are the father of many of us. Did you not bring me and my friend over yonder to Christ? If you get low in spirit after so much blessing, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.” I could say no other than, “I am ashamed of myself, and I desire to be more confident in the future.” Brethren, we must hope, and not fear. Be strong in holy confidence in God’s word, and be sure that his cause will live and prosper. Hope, says the apostle; hope to the end; go right through with it; if the worst comes to the worst, hope still. Hope as much as ever a man can hope; for when your hope is in God you cannot hope too much.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘Be Sober’

The Wednesday Word: Whom Exactly did Paul Blaspheme?

January 19, 2022 3 comments

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious …. (1 Timothy 1:12-13).

Paul’s statement in 1Timothy 1:12-13 provides a very important reference to the Deity of Christ. The apostle, speaking of his life as a Pharisee, calls himself a blasphemer. So, when was Paul ever a blasphemer? In case you are not aware, by definition, blasphemy is the act of insulting or attacking God or the act of claiming the attributes of deity. We can discount the second part of the definition in Paul’s case for we have no record whatsoever of him ever claiming to possess the attributes of Deity within himself. Of all the charges leveled against the apostle this is not one of them!

So, according to Paul, he was an insulter and attacker of God. He was a blasphemer.

But when did this blasphemy happen? He had been raised as a strict Jew and was a dedicated Pharisee. No Pharisee in his right mind would ever have blasphemed Yahweh. Paul, as you remember, was famous for his defense of and zeal for the Jewish faith. He would, therefore, never knowingly have blasphemed the name or person of God.

So, when and whom did Paul blaspheme? Paul gives us the answer quite plainly. In Acts, when speaking to King Agrippa, he says,

“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Acts 26:9-11

In Paul’s mind, his previous attacks on Christians and compelling them to deny Christ was in fact causing them to blaspheme. This means that, in Paul’s mind, Christ Jesus was God.

If Paul had thought of Christ as a mere man, he could not possibly have reckoned himself as having forced people to blaspheme! Why not? Because attacks against men are never reckoned as blasphemous. Likewise, if Paul viewed Christ Jesus as an angel or a second in command to God the attack on His person would not constitute an act of blasphemy.

Paul had been a blasphemer and he also forced Christians to blaspheme…to renounce Jesus as God.

But after his conversion, Paul knew very clearly that Christ Jesus was indeed God. Conversion had dispelled his ignorance and unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13). For people, therefore, to claim to be Christians and yet say Jesus is not God suggests that they are still unbelievers!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com