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The Wednesday Word: Sanctified by the Blood

Hebrews 13:12: Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without (outside) the gate.

The blood of Christ is so pure that it has purged every one of our sins and set us apart unto God. The all-seeing, all-piercing eye of Yahweh could discover no flaw in Christ’s blood for it contained no tinge of sin. It was and is the blood of the Lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19). The Lamb’s blood was unpolluted, untainted and clean and, therefore, it alone was exclusively suitable to sanctify us.

When Jesus Christ went to heaven, in the ascension, He took us with Him and positionally seated us there with Him as ransomed, redeemed and sanctified believers (Ephesians 2:6, 1 Peter 3:18). From that point forward, the Father could never again see us in sin or see sin in us. Our growth in grace and the knowledge of God will be greatly accelerated as we grip this truth and this truth grips us. It is finished. Now the big question that should occupy our mind is, not what we can do, but rather, what He has done (Colossians 3:1). Our lives are now hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). He will never reckon sin or sins to us. We are washed and sanctified by the blood.

If we sin, (and to our shame we will), we have the privilege of instantly bringing our wretchedness to our High Priest. Our sins may cause us to cower in alarm as we think of God’s potential sore displeasure, but it is the blood that tells us what the Father really thinks of us. He sees us as set apart and already sanctified unto him. Because of the blood, we cannot be taken from Him. Spurgeon tells us;

“The apostle says that we who are the priests of God have a right as priests to go to God’s mercy-seat that is within the Vail, but it were to our death to go there unless we were perfect. But we are perfect, for the blood of Christ has been sprinkled on us, and, therefore, our standing before God is the standing of perfection.”

CHS: New Park Street Pulpit: Sermon No. 232: Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 2nd, 1859.

If, however, we insist on remaining in defiance and rebellion, then, although our standing before God is un-altered, we reap what the sin produces and what the Holy Spirit of God must do to bring us away from the love of our sin. This does not mean, however, that we are in any way legally separated from the One to whom we have, by grace, already been attached. We can never be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Does this give us a license to sin? God forbid (Romans 6:2; Romans 6:15)! The true believer thrives on fellowship with the Father. But, if we sin and grieve the Holy Spirit, there is no way we can enjoy fellowship in the plan of God. Therefore, as we grow in grace, the Spirit of God begins to teach us a holy hatred of sin. However, this holy hatred does not qualify us to approach God. The blood has already brought us to God. The blood has already made us fit to come to God. Our holy hatred of sin cannot improve on what the blood has already done.

We, as sanctified believers, have continual access with boldness to the throne of grace, and we may come there with all our needs. Because of the blood, we are always perfect and always qualified to come to His throne, whatever our doubts, whatever our sins.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word: Speaking Blood

But you are come ….. to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel (Hebrews 12:24).

In our text, we have both the blood of Abel and the blood of Jesus. Both men were murdered! Both men presented a sacrifice before the Father. Both sacrifices were accepted but, strictly speaking, Abel’s sacrifice was accepted only because of Christ’s future work at the cross. It was impossible that the blood of Abel’s lamb could, in and of itself, take away his sin. But it did, because the Father accepted it, as it were, by credit, based on the final payment for sins that was yet to be made at Calvary.

Abel’s sacrifice had no merit in it, but Christ’s sacrifice was so overflowing with value that it encompassed Abel’s sacrifice of his lamb. When Abel’s lamb died, the blood was the blood of an everyday lamb. Although it was a far inferior sacrifice to Christ’s sacrifice, it was accepted because it was offered by faith and pointed to Christ.

Christ’s blood, however, was atoning blood, poured out once for the sins of His people from every generation. It was a well pleasing and satisfactory sacrifice which guaranteed that no charge made against us would prosper.

There is, however, a deeper meaning to this verse in that Abel’s own blood, is to be contrasted with that of Christ’s. Abel’s blood was speaking blood. God said to Cain, “What have you done, the voice of your brother’s blood cries unto Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). So here we have two men, two sets of blood, two voices. What’s the difference? The difference is this, Abel’s blood called for vengeance and vindication, but Christ’s blood calls for mercy!

Both Abel and Christ were murdered. Abel was killed by his brother and Christ was murdered by his “own” for, “He came to His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:12). And there at the cross, Jesus bled and died. But listen and listen intensely. Do you hear it? Listen to what? The silence! There is only silence from Christ’s blood on the subject of vengeance. We hear no call for vengeance upon His people. But listen again to what Christ’s blood is saying. It is speaking mercy and salvation to those who believe. Abel’s blood cries out for justice and judgment, but Jesus’ blood declares redemption and acquittal. Christ’s blood makes a much better speech than that of Abel’s.

Spurgeon said it like this,

“You came to the blood with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! ….it cries “It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Abounding, Astounding Grace!

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Romans 3:24

When we are said to be justified, it doesn’t mean we have been made righteous, it means we have been declared righteous. Even though we are sinners, the all-holy and righteous God has given us righteous standing before Him. This is astonishing! The very righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ is reckoned to us, and it is in this imputed righteousness alone that we are safe to approach the all-holy One.

We are justified and according to our text, FREELY so. To be freely justified means not only are we acquitted, but also this verdict of acquittal is not because of any reason in us. It is free. Lenski, the Lutheran commentator, calls this aspect of salvation pure, abounding, astounding grace.

The legally binding verdict of the all-knowing Judge is that we are not guilty. It is worth pausing and thinking about that. What a profound truth… May it liberate our hearts and free us from condemnation!

Zinzendorf said it well;

“Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day;

For who aught to my charge shall lay?

Fully absolved through these I am

From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

When from the dust of death I rise

To claim my mansion in the skies,

Ev’n then this shall be all my plea,

Jesus has lived, and died, for me.”

We are justified freely by grace. It has often been said that justification can be summed up with the phrase, “Just as if I’d never sinned.” It does indeed mean that, but it means much more. It means, “Just as if I had lived the same life as Jesus lived!” When we are justified, we have the very life of Christ imputed to us. When justified, we are much more than pardoned. When a person is pardoned, their punishment is remitted, but the grounds for their condemnation are not removed. This is far from Justification.

Sometimes, I am accused of making too much of the distinction of the basis of Justification being righteousness imputed to us and not infused into us. “It’s all semantics,” my critics say, “You are too technical.” This kind of comment, however, puts me in memory of the story of the man who sought some advice from a governmental agency about using a particular chemical in his business. The agency wrote back, but the letter was couched in such technical language that he couldn’t understand it. So he assumed it was alright to use the chemical and he wrote back thanking the agency for informing him and that he would go ahead and use it. When the department saw his letter, they, realizing what had happened, wrote back immediately and said just these simple words, “Don’t use that chemical, it will rust the heck out of your pipes.”

The man got the message!

Likewise, we need to be clear on the message that Gospel Justification has nothing to do with righteousness being infused into us. Great spiritual harm has come when people are not clear that we have been acquitted, not because of any reason in us but because salvation has been accomplished outside of us, in history, by Grace Alone.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Christ Alone

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

We have a real treat for you this week!

We greatly rejoice that some Christians in China, led by Brother Keith Hobkirk, are beginning to translate some of our Gospel writings. As you can see, our ministry is steadily growing in its scope and influence. Thank you for your prayers and financial help which sustain us as we spread the Gospel.

Below is a sample of some of the work the brothers and sisters are doing.

Gospel Blessings

Miles

BY Miles McKee

唯有耶稣 Miles McKee

The best thing that can happen to any of us is to become convinced that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.

发生在我们每个人身上最美好的事情就是深信我们不能做什么来拯救我们自己。

Apart from the mercy of Jesus Christ, we are utterly and helplessly lost. There is no saving merit in anything that we can do or feel. In ourselves, we have nothing to recommend us to God.

若不是耶稣基督的怜悯,我们都是迷失且无助的。我们所思所做的没有什么值得可夸赞的。向神我们一无所夸。

Let me ask you, have you become convinced that Christ alone is your Saviour? Have you been persuaded that you cannot save yourself? Have you seen that the Lord needs no assistance from anyone to give you eternal life? Have you seen that from first to last, Christ alone is your hope?

我想问你,你深信耶稣基督是你的救主吗?你相信凭自己你不能拯救你自己吗?你相信神不需要通过其他人赐给你永恒的生命吗?你相信自始至终唯有耶稣基督是你的盼望吗?

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit. One aspect of the Spirit’s work is to destroy all the vestiges of self-righteousness we harbour in our hearts (John 16:8).

Self–Righteousness, that great, stubborn rebel against God, must be rooted out. The Holy Spirit continually brings us to a place where we see and confess that we are nothing and Christ is everything.

非常感谢圣灵。圣灵的一项工作就是除尽我们心中的自义。(约168)必须根除心中强大顽固,不符合神心意的自义。圣灵不断带领我们,使我们看到自己的自义,我们就为此忏悔承认我们是一无所有的而耶稣才是我们的一切。

Someone says, ‘I’ve been reading about all those deep convictions that people used to get during the revivals of yesteryear. If I could experience those, then I’d be sure that I was saved.’ But, wait a minute, that is just another way of you bringing something to Christ in exchange for salvation. That is self-righteousness. It is a lack of trust in Christ alone as your only qualification for eternity.

有一个人说,”我一直在思想关于福音复兴时期人们所怀的信念。如果我经历了那些事情,我就会确信我已经被救赎了。”但是,等等,那其实是你在通过另一种方式和耶稣基督交换救恩。是不相信唯有在耶稣基督你才能有永生。

“But I want to feel something,” says someone else.

Christ Jesus doesn’t want you to bring your feelings to Him. Feelings are no part of Salvation. We are to trust in Christ alone, not in feelings.

另一个人说,“我想感觉到。”耶稣基督不希望你对他怀着感觉。感觉不属乎救恩。我们相信基督不是凭借感觉。

‘’Feelings come and feelings go

And feelings are deceiving

My warrant is the Word of God

Naught else is worth believing.

感觉时有时无,感觉是不可靠的,我的凭据在乎神的话,除此之外没有什么可以相信。

Though all my heart should feel condemned

For want of some sweet token,

There is One greater than my heart

Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word

Till soul and body sever,

For, though all things shall pass away,

HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”

直到死我仍深信神永不更改的话,因为一切都会废去,他却永远掌权。

Martin Luther

马丁路德

“But I feel so spiritually unfit.”

可是我觉得如此不配。”

Do you not know that the only fitness you have before Him is the fitness of being unfit?

你不知道在神面前你唯一配的地方就在于你是不配的吗

“Oh, but I am so entirely unworthy.”

噢,而我是完全不配的”

Do you think Jesus came to save the worthy? Do you ever expect to have any worthiness in yourself? Jesus saves “the ungodly” (Rom 5:6-8). Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not worthy people (1 Timothy 1:15). Spurgeon said it like this; “It is our badness, not our goodness, which drew Christ to us as a Saviour.”

你觉得耶稣来是为了拯救那些配得的人吗?你曾希望自己有什么配得之处吗?耶稣拯救“罪人”(罗5;6-8)耶稣来到世上为要拯救罪人而不是配得的人(提前1:15)司布真说,是我们的罪恶不是良善成就了耶稣成为我们的救主。”

‘With Pitying eye the Prince of Peace

Beheld our helpless grief;

He saw, and, O amazing love!

He ran to our relief.’

“”和平之君以怜悯的目光看着我们的无助和悲伤;他看见了,噢,何等的慈爱,他来抚慰我们。”

Isaac Watts.

以撒 瓦特斯

Christ didn’t die because we were good. He died for us because we were sinful wretches. We had nothing whatsoever in ourselves that could recommend us. …and still don’t. Yet the Young Prince of Glory came from Heaven to save us. What do you think you can add to that? Is there anything with which you would care to supplement His finished work?

基督不是为我们的良善而死。他乃是为我们的罪行而死。无论何时我们都没有什么可夸的。然而荣耀的君王却来到世间拯救我们。想想你能为此做些什么呢?你能做些什么协助他未完成的工作呢/

Be advised, don’t try to show Christ how worthy you are to be saved. He’s unimpressed. Our righteousness is sin but His righteousness is salvation. We are nothing; Christ alone is everything!

记住,不要企图向耶稣表明你是多么值得被救赎。他并不为所动。我们的自义是罪而他的义是救恩。我们一无所有;而耶稣基督是一切!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

这是福音真谛!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Tell Peter

“But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you (Mark 16:7).”

As a believer, have you ever blown it? I mean royally blown it? Have you ever failed God, failed the Gospel, failed your family, or failed yourself?

As a result, you suspect that there is no longer a place for you in the Lord’s affections. If so, this message is for you.

Do you remember Peter? He was quite a remarkable man.

The Lord gave him a new name and told him to become a “fisher of men.” He walked on water. He experienced the incredible event of Jesus’ transfiguration. And it was Peter who was the first to confess that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah.

What a stellar ministry… so full of promise. But, suddenly, Peter crashed with an unceremonious wallop.

It might be helpful at this point if we paint the scene of this major failure. Jesus has just been arrested and taken to the Palace of the High Priest. Almost all of His disciples had run away in fear for their lives. Two of them, however, Peter and another (probably John), followed behind the mob as they escorted Jesus to the kangaroo court.

Having, with John’s help, gained admittance into the compound, Peter now warms himself at a fire in the Palace courtyard, (Luke 22: 55). Suddenly, he is approached by a woman (John 18:17) who identifies him as one of the Lord’s disciples. When he hears her words, Peter immediately denies any connection with the Saviour basically saying, “I don’t know what you are talking about! You’re crazy!” Then he walks away, (Matthew 26:71). Almost immediately, another girl sees him and calls out, “This is one of them!” (Verse 71).

Again, Peter denies all ties to his saviour. In Matthew 26:72, we see that Peter now resorts to denying the Lord with an “oath.” In other words, Peter swore before heaven that he did not know Jesus. He may have said something like: “I promise before God and swear to Him that I’m not lying, I do not know Jesus of Nazareth!

What a tragedy! This time Peter doubles his lie count. He lied when he denied knowing Jesus and lied when he swore that he wasn’t lying!

An hour passes (Luke 22:58). Peter is approached for the third time by a delegation of sorts. He is again accused of being one of the Lord’s disciples. Peter’s Galilean accent has betrayed him. This group of accusers was led by a relative of Malchus whose ear Peter had cut off when Jesus had been arrested. When the apostle hears this allegation, he loses control and begins to “curse and to swear” (Matthew 26:74). His tongue becomes vile and vulgar. He calls God to be his witness that he doesn’t know Jesus.

Oh, how are the mighty fallen!

Notice the progression (or regression). First Peter lies. Then he tells a second lie to cover up the first lie. Then he tries to prove his lies by cursing and taking God’s name in vain.

Watch out Peter! God’s going to get you!

Sleep with one eye open Peter!

You’re a failure Peter!

If you’d been a stronger man Peter!

You’re not fit to be an apostle Peter!

Such nonsense!

Listen to me! Peter was a man of God. He loved the Lord, but he failed. Get used to it! And when he failed it broke and humbled him (Luke 22:62).

It’s no wonder that we learn of his invitation to meet the Master in Galilee. This is grace in operation. “Tell the disciples and Peter. Make sure you tell Peter. Whatever else you do, let Peter know that he’s welcome.”

But Peter has failed you!

Yes, and be sure to tell Peter that He’s welcome.

But he’s let you down.

And?…be sure to tell Peter

Listen to me: if the bad news is that you’ve spiritually failed, the good news is that there are both grace and restoration waiting for you in Christ Jesus.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Gospel Rest

November 30, 2016 Leave a comment

“Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

As usual, Mr Spurgeon nailed it when he said of this scripture, “There are mines of instruction in this verse. Superficially read, this royal promise has cheered and encouraged tens of thousands, but there is a wealth in it which the diligent digger and miner shall alone discover.”

Let’s then, go mining and see if we can scratch the surface of this marvellous truth.

Who issued the invitation to, “Come unto me?” Was it a psychiatrist? No! Was it a politician? No! It was the lovely Son of God who voiced these words. And who is He? He is the God/Man, the Eternal Word made flesh. He has come to us in our need and invited us to come to Him.

This verse wonderfully demonstrates Christ’s compassion for His people. He loves us. His love, however, is not the kind of love that wants to help but has no available resources. it’s quite the opposite. His is the love of Omnipotence. And what is the message of Omnipotent love? It is simply this, “Rest in Me.”

Are we weary? Then let us come to Jesus and rest.

Disappointment will make us weary.

A broken heart will make us weary.

Sin will make us weary.

Working to gain God’s acceptance will make us weary.

Legalistic religion will make us weary.

To be weary means to be worn down with burdens or to be exhausted. Does that describe any of us? How desperately we need to hear Him say; “Come to me.”

Listen, He’s not angry at you. He loves you! Hear His voice in the Gospel. There’s rest for you. Don’t let unbelief keep you from His rest. How could someone who has gone to the cross for us not care for us? He was wounded and butchered for us. As believers, He wants us to come to Him.

So what qualifies us to come to Him?

It’s our weariness, not our worthiness!

It’s His mercy, not our merit.

It’s our destitution, not our distinction.

It’s our hardship, not our holiness.

It’s His love, not our labour.

As believers, we have no need to drag ourselves around in abject misery. We learn to come to Him. To Him, and not to Moses! To Him, not to a favourite doctrine, an ordinance, priest or pastor. We come to Him, to Jesus Himself.

Let us come to Him for His gift of rest. Since rest is a free gift, it cannot be purchased or worked for. So then, how do we receive it! The answer is by faith alone.

Faith alone takes us to that rest. Faith alone sees that it is a rest received from the hand of the all-powerful God. It is a blood-bought rest. It is a rest bathed in love.

This rest is for the weary, for those who labour. It’s for you and me because we need it. May we all become weary enough to discover Jesus as our resting place.

To conclude, why to thirsty people drink? It’s because they are thirsty. Why do hungry people eat? It’s because they are hungry. Why do people rest? It’s because they are weary.

There is rest in knowing who Jesus is and what He has accomplished in His doing, dying and rising again. There is rest in understanding the cross. There is rest in the Gospel. There is rest because He shed His blood.

May we come to Him and enjoy Him and His rest.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon my breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was,

Weary and worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place

And He has made me glad.

Horatius Bonar

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 3-Chapter 2-A Manual For Godly Living

CHAPTER 2-A MANUAL FOR GODLY LIVING (Exposition of Romans Chapter 12)

If one should select a portion of Scripture as a manual or guide to Christian living, surely he could do no better than to turn to the closing chapters of Romans. Here we have the Christian’s duty in various relations of life. In this chapter we shall attempt an exposition of Romans 12.

We now enter what is called the practical part of Paul’s letter to the Romans. If the doctrinal portion of Romans is distasteful, the practical portion will be even more so. He who despises the mercies of God will rebel at the commands of God. Practical Christianity must rest upon doctrinal Christianity. You cannot divorce doctrine from life. As G. Campbell Morgan puts it: “You cannot grow the tulips of the kingdom of God unless you get the bulbs from heaven.” A man’s conduct is the fruit of what he believes. The flower of a godly life has its roots deep in the soil of experienced grace.

Paul, after giving us the greatest of all expositions of the grace and mercy of God; gives vent to his feeling of adoring wonder at the ways of God: and follows with an exhortation to becoming conduct on the part of those who can follow him in the gracious experiences of the mercies of God.

1. PAUL’S GREAT APPEAL (1, 2). Observe,

1a) HE BESEECHES. He does not command like Moses who gave the law. The Christian minister cannot give orders nor compel; he can only get things done by beseeching. A Christian hierarchy, whether in the form of a Baptist Board, or a Methodist Bishop, or a Roman Catholic Pope is contrary to the very norm of New Testament Christianity.

1b) HE BESEECHES BY THE MERCIES OF GOD. This is the greatest argument for a consecrated life. Paul wants the mercies of God to be realized and bear fruit to the glory of God. The highest and purest of all human motives is to act out of appreciation for the mercies of God.

1c) PAUL BESEECHES THE BRETHREN. Exhortation is ministry to the saints. He is not appealing to the sinner, but to those who have an experience of grace and mercy.

1d) HE BESEECHES THEM TO PRESENT THEIR BODIES TO GOD. The believer’s body is to be a living sacrifice in contrast to dead animals offered under the law. It is not to obtain but to acknowledge the blessing of salvation. It is a sacrifice of praise. The body is to be a holy sacrifice. Under the law the animals offered in sacrifice had to be ceremonially clean and physically sound; under grace the human body must be morally clean. A whiskey-soaked body is a filthy sacrifice. The sacrifice must be pleasing to God. It is not man nor even the church that we must please but God. Consecration is primarily to God and not to a cause or a work. One may be consecrated to a good work and yet scarcely ever think of God. Everything is to be done as unto the Lord. The sacrifice of the believer constitutes his “reasonable service.” The Greek word for reasonable is logikos, and is variously translated reasonable, intelligent, rational, spiritual, etc. The word is found in one other place in the Greek New Testament. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (#1Pe 2:2) and is translated by the phrase “of the word.” It comes from the same root as logos, which means word. The believer’s service to God must be regulated by the word of God. This is most important, for one may be busy in doing what God has not commanded, and in the way God has not commanded; yea, one may be doing what God has forbidden.

1e) HE BESEECHES BELIEVERS TO BE DIFFERENT. “And be not conformed to this world.” World here means the inhabitants of the world morally considered. The world is bad; it lies in the lap of the Wicked One. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (#1Joh 5:19). The devil is its god. He has dominion over it. The world is self-centered and Satan—controlled. The believer is not to agree with it, or be like it. He must not fall in with the world in its thinking and doing. He must think and do according to the Word of God.

1f) “BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED”. The Greek is “metamorphoo,” and means a change in appearance. It is the word used for the transfiguration of Christ. In our text it denotes a moral change, to be effected by the renewal of the mind. A change of mind-new thoughts and new ideals-is wrought in regeneration, and this change must be renewed and deepened. Outward transformation must begin in the mind and heart. If a man’s conduct is to be right his thinking must be right. In this way the believer will know “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God,” and be able to demonstrate it in his every day life. Believers are God’s demonstrators, we are to demonstrate the fact and worth of God in human life. The commercial world uses this method in making sales. The car salesman will put you into his car and behind the wheel to demonstrate its speed and riding comfort. The refrigerator man will put a refrigerator in your home on trial to let you see its freezing qualities. In this day of keen competition many things are sold in trial. It is a solemn and pertinent question the believer should put to himself; what kind of a demonstrator am I for Jesus Christ Whom I profess to trust and love and obey? What impression does my life make on others?

2. SPECIAL DUTIES BASED ON SPECIFIC GIFTS (3-8).

2a) Have a just estimate of your gift. There are different measures of faith—do not think you know it all—do not act as if you are the “whole cheese”. Think soberly about yourself and your abilities. Do not be intoxicated with conceit. Recognize the gifts of others. Be humble.

2b) We are many members in one body. Every church (local assembly) is a body of Christ likened to the human body. Each member has his own gift and place in the body, and what he does affects the whole body. Each member of the church ought to be dear to every other member.

2c) Each member must exercise his own gift. It is not a natural talent, but a gift sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit. There are seven of these gifts here enumberated:

2c1) PROPHECY. The Spirit given ability to utter Divine truth. It strictly signifies the foretelling of future events, but seems to have a wider sense in the New Testament, including the gift of explaining the Scriptures. It is forthtelling as well as foretelling. There are no foretellers since the New Testament was completed. We have in the Bible all the truth we need for our spiritual good.

2c2) MINISTRY. The Greek word means service, and is used in a wide sense. It is used of Christ in #Ro 15:8 “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” , of Phoebe in #Ro 16:1 “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:”; of the office of deacon in “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” (#Php 1:1), “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre” (#1Ti 3:8). In our text it does not seem to refer to an office, but to practical service in the church without naming the particular service. Every member is to render some service.

2c3) TEACHING. The ability to teach God’s word is a gift of the Spirit. It is a gift the pastor or bishop must have “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach” (#1Ti 3:2). A mere exhorter should never be made a bishop, that is, a pastor.

2c4) EXHORTATION. This means to excite to duty and dissuade from sin and requires a peculiar talent—a gift of the Spirit. It is not an office. We need laymen in our churches with the gift of exhortation —men who can arouse the brethren to greater activity; to be more than seat warmers. The exhortation of a Godly layman seems to have more effect than that of the pastor.

2c5) GIVING. Giving is both a duty and a grace “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia” (#2Co 8:1). Giving is the duty of all and a gift of grace bestowed upon some. Where this grace is exercised there will be large gifts for the work of the church. Let large givers give without fanfare or ostention.

2c6) RULING. The Greek word means “to go before,” or “to take the lead”. It is used of the bishop (pastor) in “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;” (#1Ti 3:4): “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine” (#1Ti 5:17). As a leader the pastor must be zealous and diligent. The pastorate is no place for a lazy man.

2c7) SHOWING MERCY. The gift of aiding the needy and of forgiving an enemy. And this must be done cheerfully and eagerly and sincerely. Gill thinks the last three gifts: giving, ruling, and showing mercy, relate to different branches of the deacon’s office. Perhaps so.

3. GENERAL DUTIES BASED UPON SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIPS (9-16).

#Ro 12:9. Love is to be sincere—without hypocrisy. Feigned love is disguised hate. “Abhorring evil.” It is not enough to cease from doing wrong; sin must be hated. “Cleaving to the good.” The Christian is not a mere negation; there is a positive side to his character. While hating evil he must love and hold fast to that which is good.

#Ro 12:10. We are to love one another as members of the same family. And where honor or preference is involved we should want another brother to have it. While the worldly vie with one another in receiving honor; the saints should compete with one another in giving honor.

#Ro 12:11. “Not slothful in business.” This has no reference to secular work, but to service for the Lord. We are to be on fire for the Lord. Stifler renders the verse this way: “In zeal (the outward) not slothful; in spirit (the inward human spirit) fervent; serving the Lord.”

#Ro 12:12. “Hope…tribulation…prayer”: the bulk of many a life. We may not be able to rejoice in present conditions but we can rejoice in hope of a better day. And this hope will give patience and steadfastness in the day of affliction, for hope sees an end to them. And while hoping and suffering we can keep on praying.

#Ro 12:13. We are to relieve the necessities of the saints, and practice hospitality. This implies private ownership of goods and is far removed from Socialism and Communism. Some will be better off than others. Let those who have, voluntarily share with those who have not. But indolence must not be encouraged or even tolerated. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies” (2Th 3:10,11) for a balancing truth. Every Christian home should be an inn where strangers of the household of faith might find entertainment: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (#Heb 13:2).

#Ro 12:14. Bless your persecutors. The saint must never answer in kind, must not fight the devil with fire; he knows more about that weapon than we do. We are to render blessing for cursing; not railing for railing.

#Ro 12:15. Share the experiences of others. Rejoice with the rejoicing ones and weep with the weeping. Here is Christian wisdom. Christ did not weep at Cana, nor laugh at the grave of Lazarus.

#Ro 12:16. “Be of the same mind one toward another.” Be easy to live with. Regard one another mutually, and let this attitude reach the lowly. Don’t be snobbish and exclusive. The world neglects and rejects the lowly, but Christ died for such people, and we should have fellowship with them in the body of Christ. And do not have a too high estimate of yourself.

4. CHRISTIAN GRACES TOWARD THE WORLD (17-21).

#Ro 12:17. Do not return evil for evil, but meet evil with good. And be honest. Watch your step for the eyes of the world are upon you. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (#Mt 5:16).

#Ro 12:18. Do your best to live at peace with all men. Be sure you are not at fault when peace is destroyed. If men hate you let them hate you for the truth’s sake and not for the evil you do.

#Ro 12:19. Do not seek revenge. Vengeance belongs to God. A Christian seeks revenge when he tries to get even with an enemy—he takes himself out of the hands of his Heavenly Father. It is a way of saying that you can handle your enemy better than He can. Do not usurp His place in judgment; wait for Him to act. He will set things right in His own time.

#Ro 12:20. Befriend your enemy. Help him in time of need. In this way you are heaping coals of fire on his head. This is the only punishment you may inflict—and take care you do not do it literally. A woman who complained of the ill treatment of her husband was asked if she had ever tried heaping coals of fire on his head replied by saying, “No, but I did dash a bucket of scalding water on him.”

#Ro 12:21. Be a conqueror. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Fight your foe with the weapon of good deeds. You conquer when you befriend an enemy, and leave vengeance with God to Whom it belongs. May grace be given to both writer and reader to heed these flesh-rebuking admonitions!

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 3