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Some believe that the scriptures do not need any interpreting

Arthur PinkOn the other hand, there are some misguided souls who have suffered the pendulum to swing to the opposite extreme, denying that the Scriptures need any interpreting. They aver they have been written for simple souls, saying what they mean and meaning what they say. They insist that the Bible requires to be believed and not explained. But it is wrong to pit those two things against each other: both are necessary. God does not ask for blind credence from us, but an intelligent faith, and for that three things are indispensable: that His Word should be read (or heard), understood, and personally appropriated. None other than Christ Himself gave exhortation, “Whoso readeth, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15)—the mind must be exercised upon what is read. That a certain amount of understanding is imperative appears further from our Lord’s parable of the Sower and the Seed:

 

“When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.., but he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it” (Matthew 13:19, 23).

 

Then let us spare no pains to arrive at the meaning of what we read, for what use can we make of what is unintelligible to us?

 

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Heart Corruptions

O God, may Thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to thee. I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me. I am undeserving, but I look to Thy tender mercy. I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; Thou art full of grace.

I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my wilful sin; all my powers of body and soul are defiled: a fountain of pollution is deep within my nature. There are chambers of foul images within my being; I have gone from one odious room to another, walked in a no-man’s-land of dangerous imaginations, pried into the secrets of my fallen nature.

I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree, unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt. Lord, dost Thou have mercy on me?

Thou hast struck a heavy blow at my pride, at the false god of self, and I lie in pieces before Thee. But Thou hast given me another master and lord, Thy Son, Jesus, and now my heart is turned towards holiness, my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to Thee. Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride. Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life, from everything that is natural to fallen man, and let Christ’s nature be seen in me day by day. Grant me grace to bear Thy will without repining, and delight to be not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long, and lifted from the quarry to the upper air, where I may be built in Christ for ever.

 

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett. Reformatted by Eternal Life Ministries.

Baptism is the outward expression of the inward faith

September 30, 2013 2 comments

CharlesSpurgeonCommenting on this text of scripture, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” — Mark 16:16, Spurgeon said:

Why do you suppose that baptism is put into this prominent position? I think that it is for this reason, Baptism is the outward expression of the inward faith. He who believes in Christ with his heart confesses his faith before God and before the Church of God by being baptized. Now, the faith that speaks thus is not a dumb faith; it is not a cowardly faith; it is not a sneaking faith. Paul puts the matter thus, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889

Can Christians fall and be lost?

December 12, 2012 Leave a comment

But our first parents also fell from their original state of holiness. If so, may not christians under similar influences, fall and be lost?

This proposition demands our serious investigation. I observe, that between their primitive condition, and that of truly regenerated men of subsequent ages, no such similarity exists, as will admit of conclusive reasoning from the one to the other. Let several facts, evincive of the truth of this statement, be considered. You will, in the first place, remember that the covenant of God with them was wholly different from that upon which you now stand. To Adam Jehovah said―”Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not ear of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”

The obligation of this covenant was a simple negative, upon a single point. How easy would have been compliance. The conditions were explicit―obey, and live; disobey, and die. The result need not be repeated.

With this, contrast the Gospel Covenant―”I will put my laws into their mind, (saith Jehovah) and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest; for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins, and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

Well may this be distinguished as “the covenant of grace!” How utterly unlike the Adamic. With our first parents all was unbending justice; with you all is favor, mercy, boundless forbearance. In the covenant with them, no provision was made for the pardon of sin; in the Gospel covenant, this is one of the strongest features. Besides all this, they were, until they sinned, utter strangers to pain, and sorrow, and wasting wretchedness. They had not experience of evil. You have known all its bitterness. And further, They disposed of their own life, and alas! incurred its dreadful forfeiture! “Ye are lead (to sin) and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also, appear with his in glory.”

Their condition was wholly different from yours. Almost its antipodes. The reasoning from analogy therefore―is here clearly out of place―it is not legitimate. Neither, as you now see, from the fall of angels nor of our first parents, from their original state of holiness, can any valid arguments be adduced, proving that regenerated men, once depraved and sinful, but now redeemed and sanctified, are liable to “loose their faith, and regeneration, or to continue in apostasy, and so eternally perish.” The objection is without relevancy, or force.

R. B. C. Howell—Perseverance of the Saints

We judge sin by our acts, God judges the heart

December 10, 2012 Leave a comment

You are, whether you know it or not, a lost sinner, and that in the strongest sense of the term. Men judge of sin only by its open acts, but God looketh directly at the heart. Their censures fall only on particular branches of immorality, which strike immediately at the well-being of society; but God views the root of the mischief, and takes into consideration all its mischievous bearings. “Know thou, therefore, and consider, that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast done; that thou hast departed from the living God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

One Reason we Forget Christ

We forget Christ, because regenerate persons as we really are, still corruption and death remain even in the regenerate. We forget him because we carry about with us the old Adam of sin and death. If we were purely new-born creatures, we should never forget the name of him whom we love. If we were entirely regenerated beings, we should sit down and meditate on all our Savior did and suffered; as he is; all he has gloriously promised to perform; and never would our roving affections stray; but centred, nailed, fixed eternally to one object, we should continually contemplate the death and sufferings of our Lord. But alas! we have a worm in the heart, a pesthouse, a charnel-house within, lusts, vile imaginations, and strong evil passions, which, like wells of poisonous water, send out continually streams of impurity. I have a heart, which God knoweth, I wish I could wring from my body and hurl to an infinite distance; a soul which is a cave of unclean birds, a den of loathsome creatures, where dragons haunt and owls do congregate, where every evil beast of ill-omen dwells; a heart too vile to have a parallel — “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”

Charles H. Spurgeon—The Remembrance of Christ—A sermon delivered on Sabbath Evening January 7th 1855

 

We Must Persevere in the Work of the Lord

We must persevere in the work of the Lord to the end. When Israel came out of Egypt, I suppose they all intended to go forward, and to possess the land: but when difficulties arose, the great body of them fainted, and were for going back. When an undertaking is new and plausible, many come forward to engage in it: but a time comes when the first flush of spirits subsides, when great and seemingly insurmountable difficulties present themselves, and when success appears to be much farther off than at the beginning: this is the time for the trial of faith. A few such seasons will commonly thin the ranks of Christian professors; but blessed are they that endure temptation. Those who followed the Lord fully were brought into the land. It is possible that our motives may be pure at the outset, and yet, through the strength of temptation, we may be turned aside. The Lord speaks well of the church of Ephesus, as having, for a time, borne, and had patience, and for his names sake had laboured, and not fainted: yet it follows, Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast justify thy first love. This is an example for us to shun. Another follows, namely, the church at Thyatira, for our imitation: I know thy works, and thy charity, and service and faith, and thy patience, and thy works, AND THE LAST TO BE MORE THAN THE FIRST.

Rev. Andrew Fuller-God’s Approbation of our Labours Necessary to the Hope of Success-Preached