Tags: preaching, sermon, Spurgeon
“For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”
1 Corinthians 5:7
THE more you read the Bible and the more you meditate upon it, the more you will be astonished with it. He who is but a casual reader of the Bible does not know the height, the depth, the length and breadth of the mighty meanings contained in its pages. There are certain times when I discover a new vein of thought and I put my hand to my head and say in astonishment, “Oh, it is wonderful! I never saw this before in the Scriptures.” You will find the Scriptures enlarge as you enter them—the more you study them the less you will appear to know of them—for they widen out as we approach them. Especially will you find this the case with the typical parts of God’s Word. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon – Christ Our Passover…
Tags: Edwards, preaching, sermon
The Eternity of Hell’s Torments
“These shall go away into everlasting punishment.” — Matthew 25:46
Subject: The misery of the wicked in hell will be absolutely eternal.
In this chapter we have the most particular description of the day of judgment, of any in the whole Bible. Christ here declares that when he shall hereafter sit on the throne of his glory, the righteous and the wicked shall be set before him, and separated one from the other, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. Then we have an account how both will be judged according to their works: how the good works of the one and the evil works of the other will be rehearsed, and how the sentence shall be pronounced accordingly. We are told what the sentence will be on each, and then we have an account of the execution of the sentence on both. In the words of the text is the account of the execution of the sentence on the wicked or the ungodly, concerning which, it is to my purpose to observe two things.
I. The duration of the punishment on which they are here said to enter: it is called everlasting punishment.
II. The time of their entrance on this everlasting punishment, viz. after the day of judgment, when all these things that are of a temporary continuance shall have come to an end and even those of them that are most lasting — the frame of the world itself, the earth which is said to abide forever, the ancient mountains and everlasting hills, [and] the sun, moon, and stars. When the heavens shall have waxed old like a garment and as a vesture shall be changed, then shall be the time when the wicked shall enter on their punishment.
Doctrine. — The misery of the wicked in hell will be absolute ly eternal.
There are two opinions which I mean to oppose in this doctrine. One is that the eternal death with which wicked men are threatened in Scripture, signifies no more than eternal annihilation: that God will punish their wickedness by eternally abolishing their being.
The other opinion which I mean to oppose is that though the punishment of the wicked shall consist in sensible misery, yet it shall not be absolutely eternal, but only of a very long continuance.
Therefore, to establish the doctrine in opposition to these different opinions, I shall undertake to show,
I. That it is not contrary to the divine perfections to inflict on wicked men a punishment that is absolutely eternal.
II. That the eternal death which God threatens is not annihilation, but an abiding sensible punishment or misery.
III. That this misery will not only continue for a very long time, but will be absolutely without end.
IV. That various good ends will be obtained by the eternal punishment of the wicked.
I. I am to show that it is not contrary to the divine perfections to inflict on wicked men a punishment that is absolutely eternal.
This is the sum of the objections usually made against this doctrine: that it is inconsistent with the justice, and especially with the mercy, of God. And some say [that] if it be strictly just, yet how can we suppose that a merciful God can bear eternally to torment his creatures.
First, I shall briefly show that it is not inconsistent with the justice of God to inflict an eternal punishment. To evince this, I shall use only one argument, viz. that sin is heinous enough to deserve such a punishment, and such a punishment is no more than proportionable to the evil or demerit of sin. If the evil of sin be infinite, as the punishment is, then it is manifest that the punishment is no more than proportionable to the sin punished, and is no more than sin deserves. And if the obligation to love, honor, and obey God be infinite, then sin which is the violation of this obligation, is a violation of infinite obligation, and so is an infinite evil. Again, if God be infinitely worthy of love, honor, and obedience, then our obligation to love, and honor, and obey him is infinitely great. — So that God being infinitely glorious, or infinitely worthy of our love, honor, and obedience, our obligation to love, honor, and obey him (and so to avoid all sin) is infinitely great. Again, our obligation to love, honor, and obey God being infinitely great, sin is the violation of infinite obligation, and so is an infinite evil. Once more, sin being an infinite evil, deserves an infinite punishment. An infinite punishment is no more than it deserves. Therefore such punishment is just, which was the thing to be proved. There is no evading the force of this reasoning, but by denying that God, the sovereign of the universe, is infinitely glorious, which I presume none of my hearers will venture to do.
Second, I am to show that it is not inconsistent with the mercy of God, to inflict an eternal punishment on wicked men. It is an unreasonable and unscriptural notion of the mercy of God, that he is merciful in such a sense that he cannot bear that penal justice should be executed. This is to conceive of the mercy of God as a passion to which his nature is so subject that God is liable to be moved, and affected, and overcome by seeing a creature in misery, so that he cannot bear to see justice executed: which is a most unworthy and absurd notion of the mercy of God, and would, if true, argue great weakness. — It would be a great defect, and not a perfection, in the sovereign and supreme Judge of the world, to be merciful in such a sense that he could not bear to have penal justice executed. It is a very unscriptural notion of the mercy of God. The Scriptures everywhere represent the mercy of God as free and sovereign, and not that the exercises of it are necessary, so that God cannot bear justice should take place. The Scriptures abundantly speak of it as the glory of the divine attribute of mercy, that it is free and sovereign in its exercises, and not that God cannot but deliver sinners from misery. This is a mean and most unworthy idea of the divine mercy.
It is most absurd also as it is contrary to plain fact. For if there be any meaning in the objection, this is supposed in it, that all misery of the creature, whether just or unjust, is in itself contrary to the nature of God. For if his mercy be of such a nature that a very great degree of misery, though just, is contrary to his nature, then it is only to add to the mercy. And then a less degree of misery is contrary to his nature (again to add further to it), and a still less degree of misery is contrary to his nature. And so the mercy of God being infinite, all misery must be contrary to his nature, which we see to be contrary to fact. For we see that God in his providence, does indeed inflict very great calamities on mankind even in this life.
However strong such kind of objections against the eternal misery of the wicked, may seem to the carnal, senseless hearts of men, as though it were against God’s justice and mercy, yet their seeming strength arises from a want of sense of the infinite evil, odiousness, and provocation there is in sin. Hence it seems to us not suitable that any poor creature should be the subject of such misery, because we have no sense of anything abominable and provoking in any creature answerable to it. If we had, then this infinite calamity would not seem unsuitable. For one thing would but appear answerable and proportionable to another, and so the mind would rest in it as fit and suitable, and no more than what is proper to be ordered by the just, holy, and good Governor of the world.
That this is so, we may be convinced by this consideration, viz. that when we hear or read of some horrid instances of cruelty, it may be to some poor innocent child or some holy martyr — and their cruel persecutors, having no regard to their shrieks and cries, only sported themselves with their misery, and would not vouchsafe even to put an end to their lives — we have a sense of the evil of them, and they make a deep impression on our minds. Hence it seems just, every way fit and suitable, that God should inflict a very terrible punishment on persons who have perpetrated such wickedness. It seems no way disagreeable to any perfection of the Judge of the world. We can think of it without being at all shocked. The reason is that we have a sense of the evil of their conduct, and a sense of the proportion there is between the evil or demerit and the punishment.
Just so, if we saw a proportion between the evil of sin and eternal punishment, i.e. if we saw something in wicked men that should appear as hateful to us, as eternal misery appears dreadful (something that should as much stir up indignation and detestation, as eternal misery does terror), all objections against this doctrine would vanish at once. Though now it seem incredible, [and] though when we hear of such a degree and duration of torments as are held forth in this doctrine and think what eternity is, it is ready to seem impossible that such torments should be inflicted on poor feeble creatures by a Creator of infinite mercy. Yet this arises principally from these two causes: 1. It is so contrary to the depraved inclinations of mankind, that they hate to believe it and cannot bear it should be true. 2. They see not the suitableness of eternal punishment to the evil of sin. They see not that it is no more than proportionable to the demerit of sin.
Having thus shown that the eternal punishment of the wicked is not inconsistent with the divine perfections, I shall now proceed to show that it is so far from being inconsistent with the divine perfections, that those perfections evidently require it; i.e. they require that sin should have so great a punishment, either in the person who has committed it, or in a surety. And therefore with respect to those who believe not in a surety, and have no interest in him, the divine perfections require that this punishment should be inflicted on them.
This appears as it is not only not unsuitable that sin should be thus punished, but it is positively suitable, decent, and proper. — If this be made to appear, that it is positively suitable that sin should be thus punished, then it will follow that the perfections of God require it. For certainly the perfections of God require what is proper to be done. The perfection and excellency of God require that to take place which is perfect, excellent, and proper in its own nature. But that sin should be punished eternally is such a thing, which appears by the following considerations.
1. It is suitable that God should infinitely hate sin, and be an infinite enemy to it. Sin, as I have before shown, is an infinite evil, and therefore is infinitely odious and detestable. It is proper that God should hate every evil, and hate it according to its odious and detestable nature. And sin being infinitely evil and odious, it is proper that God should hate it infinitely.
2. If infinite hatred of sin be suitable to the divine character, then the expressions of such hatred are also suitable to this character. Because that which is suitable to be, is suitable to be expressed. That which is lovely in itself, is lovely when it appears. If it be suitable that God should be an infinite enemy to sin, or that he should hate it infinitely, then it is suitable that he should act as such an enemy. If it be suitable that he should hate and have enmity against sin, then it is suitable for him to express that hatred and enmity in that to which hatred and enmity by its own nature tends. But certainly hatred in its own nature tends to opposition, and to set itself against that which is hated, and to procure its evil and not its good, and that in proportion to the hatred. Great hatred naturally tends to the great evil, and infinite hatred to the infinite evil, of its object.
Whence it follows that if it be suitable that there should be infinite hatred of sin in God, as I have shown it is, it is suitable that he should execute an infinite punishment on it. And so the perfections of God require that he should punish sin with an infinite, or which is the same thing with an eternal, punishment.
Thus we see not only the great objection against this doctrine answered, but the truth of the doctrine established by reason. I now proceed further to establish it by considering the remaining particulars under the doctrine.
II. That eternal death or punishment which God threatens to the wicked, is not annihilation, but an abiding sensible punishment or misery. — The truth of this proposition will appear by the following particulars.
First, the Scripture everywhere represents the punishment of the wicked, as implying very extreme pains and sufferings. But a state of annihilation is no state of suffering at all. Persons annihilated have no sense or feeling of pain or pleasure, and much less do they feel that punishment which carries in it an extreme pain or suffering. They no more suffer to eternity than they did suffer from eternity.
Second, it is agreeable both to Scripture and reason to suppose that the wicked shall be punished in such a manner that they shall be sensible of the punishment they are under: that they should be sensible that now God has executed and fulfilled what he threatened, what they disregarded and would not believe. They should know themselves that justice takes place upon them, that God vindicates that majesty which they despised, [and] that God is not so despicable a being as they thought him to be. They should be sensible for what they are punished, while they are under the threatened punishment. It is reasonable that they should be sensible of their own guilt, and should remember their former opportunities and obligations, and should see their own folly and God’s justice. — If the punishment threatened be eternal annihilation, they will never know that it is inflicted. They will never know that God is just in their punishment, or that they have their deserts. And how is this agreeable to the Scriptures, in which God threatens, that he will repay the wicked to his face, Deu. 7:10. And to that in Job 21:19, 20, “God rewardeth him, and he shall know it; his eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.” And to that in Eze. 22:21, 22, “Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you.” — And how is it agreeable to that expression so often annexed to the threatenings of God’s wrath against wicked men, And ye shall know that I am the Lord?
Third, the Scripture teaches that the wicked will suffer different degrees of torment, according to the different aggravations of their sins. Mat. 5:22, “Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.” Here Christ teaches us that the torments of wicked men will be different in different persons, according to the different degrees of their guilt. — It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, for Tyre and Sidon, than for the cities where most of Christ’s mighty works were wrought. — Again, our Lord assures us that he that knows his Lord’s will, and prepares not himself, nor does according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knows not, and commits things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. — These several passages of Scripture infallibly prove that there will be different degrees of punishment in hell, which is utterly inconsistent with the supposition that the punishment consists in annihilation, in which there can be no degrees.
Fourth, the Scriptures are very express and abundant in this matter: that the eternal punishment of the wicked will consist in sensible misery and torment, and not in annihilation. — What is said of Judas is worthy to be observed here, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born;” Mat. 26:24. — This seems plainly to teach us, that the punishment of the wicked is such that their existence, upon the whole, is worse than non-existence. But if their punishment consists merely in annihilation, this is not true. — The wicked, in their punishment, are said to weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; which implies not only real existence, but life, knowledge, and activity, and that they are in a very sensible and exquisite manner affected with their punishment, Isa. 33:14. Sinners in the state of their punishment are represented to dwell with everlasting burnings. But if they are only turned into nothing, where is the foundation for this representation? It is absurd to say that sinners will dwell with annihilation, for there is no dwelling in the case. It is also absurd to call annihilation a burning, which implies a state of existence, sensibility, and extreme pain: whereas in annihilation there is neither.
It is said that they shall be cast into a lake of fire and brimstone. How can this expression with any propriety be understood to mean a state of annihilation? Yea, they are expressly said to have no rest day nor night, but to be tormented with fire and brimstone forever and ever, Rev. 20:10. But annihilation is a state of rest, a state in which not the least torment can possibly be suffered. The rich man in hell lifted up his eyes being in torment, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, and entered into a particular conversation with Abraham: all which proves that he was not annihilated.
The spirits of ungodly men before the resurrection are not in a state of annihilation, but in a state of misery. They are spirits in prison, as the apostle says of them that were drowned in the flood, 1 Pet. 3:19. — And this appears very plainly from the instance of the rich man before mentioned, if we consider him as representing the wicked in their separate state between death and the resurrection. But if the wicked even then are in a state of torment, much more will they be, when they shall come to suffer that which is the proper punishment of their sins.
Annihilation is not so great a calamity but that some men have undoubtedly chosen it, rather than a state of suffering even in this life. This was the case of Job, a good man. But if a good man in this world may suffer that which is worse than annihilation, doubtless the proper punishment of the wicked, in which God means to manifest his peculiar abhorrence of their wickedness, will be a calamity vastly greater still, and therefore cannot be annihilation. That must be a very mean contemptible testimony of God’s wrath towards those who have rebelled against his crown and dignity — broken his laws, and despised both his vengeance and his grace — which is not so great a calamity as some of his true children have suffered in life.
The eternal punishment of the wicked is said to be the second death, as Rev. 20:14, and 21:8. It is doubtless called the second death in reference to the death of the body, and as the death of the body is ordinarily attended with great pain and distress, so the like, or something vastly greater, is implied in calling the eternal punishment of the wicked the second death. And there would be no propriety in calling it so, if it consisted merely in annihilation. And this second death wicked men will suffer, for it cannot be called the second death with respect to any other than men. It cannot be called so with respect to devils, as they die no temporal death, which is the first death. In Rev. 2:11, it is said, “He that overcometh, shall not be hurt of the second death;” implying that all who do not overcome their lusts, but live in sin, shall suffer the second death.
Again, wicked men will suffer the same kind of death with the devils; as in verse 41 of the context, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Now the punishment of the devil is not annihilation, but torment. He therefore trembles for fear of it. not for fear of being annihilated — he would be glad of that. Where he is afraid of is torment, as appears by Luke 8:28, where he cries out and beseeches Christ that he would not torment him before the time. And it is said, Rev. 20:10, “The devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night, for ever and ever.”
It is strange how men will go directly against so plain and full revelations of Scripture, as to suppose notwithstanding all these things, that the eternal punishment threatened against the wicked signifies no more than annihilation.
III. As the future punishment of the wicked consists in sensible misery, so it shall not only continue for a very long time, but shall be absolutely without end.
Of those who have held that the torments of hell are not absolutely eternal, there have been two sorts. Some suppose that in the threatenings of everlasting punishment, the terms used do not necessarily import a proper eternity, but only a very long duration. Others suppose that if they do import a proper eternity, yet we cannot necessarily conclude thence, that God will fulfill his threatenings. — Therefore I shall,
First, show that the threatenings of eternal punishment do very plainly and fully import a proper, absolute eternity, and not merely a long duration. — This appears,
1. Because when the Scripture speaks of the wicked being sentenced to their punishment at the time when all temporal things are come to an end, it then speaks of it as everlasting, as in the text, and elsewhere. It is true that the term forever is not always in Scripture used to signify eternity. Sometimes it means “as long as a man lives.” In this sense it is said that the Hebrew servant, who chose to abide with his master, should have his ear bored and should serve his master forever. Sometimes it means “during the continuance of the state and church of the Jews.” In this sense, several laws, which were peculiar to that church and were to continue in force no longer than that church should last, are called statutes forever. See Exo. 27:21, 28:43, etc. Sometimes it means as long as the world stands. So in Ecc. 1:4, “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth for ever.”
And this last is the longest temporal duration that such a term is ever used to signify. For the duration of the world is the longest of things temporal, as its beginning was the earliest. Therefore when the Scripture speaks of things as being before the foundation of the world, it means that they existed before the beginning of time. So those things which continue after the end of the world, are eternal things. When heaven and earth are shaken and removed, those things that remain will be what cannot be shaken, but will remain forever, Heb. 12:26-27.
But the punishment of the wicked will not only remain after the end of the world, but is called everlasting, as in the text, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment.” So in 2 Thes. 1:9-10, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints,” etc. — Now, what can be meant by a thing being everlasting, after all temporal things are come to an end, but that it is absolutely without end!
2. Such expressions are used to set forth the duration of the punishment of the wicked, as are never used in the scriptures of the New Testament to signify anything but a proper eternity. It is said, not only that the punishment shall be forever, but for ever and ever. Rev. 14:11, “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.” Rev. 20:10, “Shall be tormented day and night, for ever and ever.” Doubtless the New Testament has some expression to signify a proper eternity, of which it has so often occasion to speak. But it has no higher expression than this: if this do not signify an absolute eternity, there is none that does.
3. The Scripture uses the same way of speaking to set forth the eternity of punishment and the eternity of happiness, yea, the eternity of God himself. Mat. 25:46, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” The words everlasting and eternal, in the original, are the very same. Rev. 22:5, “And they (the saints) shall reign for ever and ever.” And the Scripture has no higher expression to signify the eternity of God himself, than that of his being for ever and ever, as Rev. 4:9, “To him who sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever;” and in the 10th verse, and in Rev. 5:14; 10:6, and 15:7.
Again, the Scripture expresses God’s eternity by this: that it shall be forever, after the world is come to an end, Psa. 102:26-27, “They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”
4. The Scripture says that wicked men shall not be delivered till they have paid the uttermost farthing of their debt, Mat. 5:26. The last mite, Luke 12:59, i.e. the utmost that is deserved, and all mercy is excluded by this expression. But we have shown that they deserve an infinite, an endless punishment.
5. The Scripture says absolutely that their punishment shall not have an end, Mark 9:44, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Now it will not do to say that the meaning is [that] their worm shall live a great while, or that it shall be a great while before their fire is quenched. If ever the time comes that their worm shall die, if ever there shall be a quenching of the fire at all, then it is not true that their worm dieth not and that the fire is not quenched. For if there be a dying of the worm and a quenching of the fire, let it be at what time it will, nearer or further off, it is equally contrary to such a negation — it dieth not, it is not quenched.
Second, there are others who allow that the expression of the threatenings do denote a proper eternity. But then, they say, it does not certainly follow that the punishment will really be eternal, because God may threaten, and yet not fulfill his threatenings. Though they allow that the threatenings are positive and peremptory, without any reserve, yet they say [that] God is not obliged to fulfill absolute positive threatenings, as he is absolute promises. Because in promises a right is conveyed that the creature to whom the promises are made will claim. But there is no danger of the creature’s claiming any right by a threatening. Therefore I am now to show that what God has positively declared in this matter, does indeed make it certain that it shall be as he has declared. To this end, I shall mention two things:
1. It is evidently contrary to the divine truth, positively to declare anything to be real, whether past, present, or to come, which God at the same time knows is not so. Absolutely threatening that anything shall be, is the same as absolutely declaring that it is to be. For any to suppose that God absolutely declares that anything will be, which be at the same time knows will not be, is blasphemy, if there be any such thing as blasphemy.
Indeed, it is very true that there is no obligation on God, arising from the claim of the creature, as there is in promises. They seem to reckon the wrong way, who suppose the necessity of the execution of the threatening to arise from a proper obligation on God to the creature to execute consequent on his threatening. For indeed the certainty of the execution arises the other way, viz. on the obligation there was on the omniscient God, in threatening, to conform his threatening to what he knew would be future in execution. Though, strictly speaking, God is not properly obliged to the creature to execute because he has threatened, yet he was obliged not absolutely to threaten, if at the same time he knew that he should not or would not fulfill, because this would not have been consistent with his truth. So that from the truth of God there is an inviolable connection between positive threatenings and execution. They who suppose that God positively declared that he would do contrary to what he knew would come to pass, do therein suppose, that he absolutely threatened contrary to what he knew to be truth. And how anyone can speak contrary to what he knows to be truth, in declaring, promising, or threatening, or any other way, consistently with inviolable truth, is inconceivable.
Threatenings are significations of something, and if they are made consistently with truth, they are true significations, or significations of truth, that which shall be. If absolute threatenings are significations of anything, they are significations of the futurity of the things threatened. But if the futurity of the things threatened be not true and real, then how can the threatening be a true signification? And if God, in them, speaks contrary to what he knows, and contrary to what he intends, how he can speak true is inconceivable.
Absolute threatenings are a kind of predictions. And though God is not properly obliged by any claim of ours to fulfill predictions, unless they are of the nature of promises, yet it certainly would be contrary to truth, to predict that such a thing would come to pass, which he knew at the same time would not come to pass. Threatenings are declarations of something future, and they must be declarations of future truth, if they are true declarations. Its being future alters not the case any more than if it were present. It is equally contrary to truth, to declare contrary to what at the same time is known to be truth, whether it be of things past, present, or to come: for all are alike to God.
Beside, we have often declarations in Scripture of the future eternal punishment of the wicked, in the proper form of predictions, and not in the form of threatenings. So in the text, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment.” So in those frequent assertions of eternal punishment in the Revelation, some of which I have already quoted. The Revelation is a prophecy, and is so called in the book itself. So are those declarations of eternal punishment. — The like declarations we have also in many other places of Scripture.
2. The doctrine of those who teach that it is not certain that God will fulfill those absolute threatenings, is blasphemous another way, and that is, as God, according to their supposition, was obliged to make use of a fallacy to govern the world. They own that it is needful that men should apprehend themselves liable to an eternal punishment, that they might thereby be restrained from sin, and that God has threatened such a punishment, for the very end that they might believe themselves exposed to it. But what an unworthy opinion does this convey of God and his government, of his infinite majesty, and wisdom, and all-sufficiency! — Beside, they suppose that though God has made use of such a fallacy, yet it is not such an one but that they have detected him in it. Though God intended men should believe it to be certain that sinners are liable to an eternal punishment, yet they suppose that they have been so cunning as to find out that it is not certain. And so that God had not laid his design so deep, but that such cunning men as they can discern the cheat and defeat the design, because they have found out that there is no necessary connection between the threatening of eternal punishment, and the execution of that threatening.
Considering these things, is it not greatly to be wondered at, that Archbishop Tillotson, who has made so great a figure among the new-fashioned divines, should advance such an opinion as this?
Before I conclude this head, it may be proper for me to answer an objection or two that may arise in the minds of some.
Objection 1. It may be here said [that] we have instances wherein God has not fulfilled his threatenings: as his threatening to Adam, and in him to mankind, that they should surely die, if they should eat the forbidden fruit. I answer, it is not true that God did not fulfill that threatening. He fulfilled it and will fulfill it in every jot and tittle. When God said, “Thou shalt surely die,” if we respect spiritual death, it was fulfilled in Adam’s person in the day that he ate. For immediately his image, his holy spirit and original righteousness, which was the highest and best life of our first parents, were lost, and they were immediately in a doleful state of spiritual death.
If we respect temporal death, that was also fulfilled. He brought death upon himself and all his posterity, and he virtually suffered that death on that very day on which he ate. His body was brought into a corruptible, mortal, and dying condition, and so it continued till it was dissolved. If we look at all that death which was comprehended in the threatening, it was, properly speaking, fulfilled in Christ. When God said to Adam, “If thou eatest, thou shalt die,” he spoke not only to him, and of him personally, but the words respected mankind, Adam and his race, and doubtless were so understood by him. His offspring were to be looked upon as sinning in him, and so should die with him. The words do as justly allow of an imputation of death as of sin. They are as well consistent with dying in a surety, as with sinning in one. Therefore, the threatening is fulfilled in the death of Christ, the surety.
Objection 2. Another objection may arise from God’s threatening to Nineveh. He threatened, that in forty days Nineveh should be destroyed, which yet he did not fulfill. — I answer, that threatening could justly be looked upon no otherwise than as conditional. It was of the nature of a warning, and not of an absolute denunciation. Why was Jonah sent to the Ninevites, but to give them warning, that they might have opportunity to repent, reform, and avert the approaching destruction? God had no other design or end in sending the prophet to them, but that they might be warned and tried by him, as God warned the Israelites, Judah and Jerusalem, before their destruction. Therefore the prophets, together with their prophecies of approaching destruction, joined earnest exhortations to repent and reform, that it might be averted.
No more could justly be understood to be certainly threatened, than that Nineveh should be destroyed in forty days, continuing as it was. For it was for their wickedness that that destruction was threatened, and so the Ninevites took it. Therefore, when the cause was removed, the effect ceased. It was contrary to God’s known manner, to threaten punishment and destruction for sin in this world absolutely, so that it should come upon the persons threatened unavoidably, let them repent and reform and do what they would; Jer. 18:7, 8, “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” So that all threatenings of this nature had a condition implied in them, according to the known and declared manner of God’s dealing. And the Ninevites did not take it as an absolute sentence of denunciation: if they had, they would have despaired of any benefit by fasting and reformation.
But the threatenings of eternal wrath are positive and absolute. There is nothing in the Word of God from which we can gather any condition. The only opportunity of escaping is in this world. This is the only state of trial, wherein we have any offers of mercy, or place for repentance.
IV. I shall mention several good and important ends, which will be obtained by the eternal punishment of the wicked.
First, hereby God vindicates his injured majesty. Wherein sinners cast contempt upon it, and trample it in the dust, God vindicates and honors it and makes it appear, as it is indeed infinite, by showing that it is infinitely dreadful to condemn or offend it.
Second, God glorifies his justice. — The glory of God is the greatest good. It is that which is the chief end of the creation. It is of greater importance than anything else. But this one way wherein God will glorify himself, as in the eternal destruction of ungodly men, he will glorify his justice. Therein he will appear as a just governor of the world. The vindictive justice of God will appear strict, exact, awful, and terrible, and therefore glorious.
Third, God hereby indirectly glorifies his grace on the vessels of mercy. — The saints in heaven will behold the torments of the damned: “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.” Isa. 66:24, “And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have trangressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” And in Rev. 14:10 it is said, that they shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. So they will be tormented in the presence also of the glorified saints.
Hereby the saints will be made the more sensible how great their salvation is. When they shall see how great the misery is from which God has saved them, and how great a difference he has made between their state and the state of others, who were by nature (and perhaps for a time by practice) no more sinful and ill-deserving than any, it will give them a greater sense of the wonderfulness of God’s grace to them. Every time they look upon the damned, it will excite in them a lively and admiring sense of the grace of God, in making them so to differ. This the apostle informs us is one end of the damnation of ungodly men; Rom. 9:22-23, “What if God willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?” The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardor of the love and gratitude of the saints in heaven.
Fourth, the sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. It will not only make them more sensible of the greatness and freeness of the grace of God in their happiness, but it will really make their happiness the greater, as it will make them more sensible of their own happiness. It will give them a more lively relish of it: it will make them prize it more. When they see others, who were of the same nature and born under the same circumstances, plunged in such misery, and they so distinguished, O it will make them sensible how happy they are. A sense of the opposite misery, in all cases, greatly increases the relish of any joy or pleasure.
The sight of the wonderful power, the great and dreadful majesty, and awful justice and holiness of God, manifested in the eternal punishment of ungodly men, will make them prize his favor and love vastly the more. And they will be so much the more happy in the enjoyment of it.
I. From what has been said, we may learn the folly and madness of the greater part of mankind, in that for the sake of present momentary gratification, they run the venture of enduring all these eternal torments. They prefer a small pleasure, or a little wealth, or a little earthly honor and greatness, which can last but for a moment, to an escape from this punishment. If it be true that the torments of hell are eternal, what will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? What is there in this world, which is not a trifle and lighter than vanity, in comparison with these eternal things?
How mad are men, who so often hear of these things and pretend to believe them; who can live but a little while (a few years); who do not even expect to live here longer than others of their species ordinarily do; and who yet are careless about what becomes of themselves in another world, where there is no change and no end! How mad are they, when they hear that if they go on in sin, they shall be eternally miserable — that they are not moved by it, but hear it with as much carelessness and coldness as if they were no way concerned in the matter — when they know not but that it may be their case, that they may be suffering these torments before a week is at an end!
How can men be so careless of such a matter as their own eternal and desperate destruction and torment! What a strange stupor and senselessness possesses the hearts of men! How common a thing is it to see men, who are told from Sabbath to Sabbath of eternal misery, and who are as mortal as other men, so careless about it that they seem not to be at all restrained by it from whatever their souls lust after! It is not half so much their care to escape eternal misery, as it is to get money and land, and to be considerable in the world, and to gratify their sense. Their thoughts are much more exercised about these things, and much more of their care and concern is about them. Eternal misery, though they lie every day exposed to it, is a thing neglected, it is but now and then thought of, and then with a great deal of stupidity, and not with concern enough to stir them up to do anything considerable in order to escape it. They are not sensible that it is worth their while to take any considerable pains in order to it. And if they do take pains for a little while, they soon leave off, and something else takes up their thoughts and concern.
Thus you see it among young and old. Multitudes of youth lead a careless life, taking little care about their salvation. So you may see it among persons of middle age, and with many advanced in years, and when they certainly draw near to the grave. — Yet these same persons will seem to acknowledge that the greater part of men go to hell and suffer eternal misery, and this through carelessness about it. However, they will do the same. How strange is it that men can enjoy themselves and be at rest, when they are thus hanging over eternal burnings: at the same time, having no lease of their lives and not knowing how soon the thread by which they hang will break. Nor indeed do they pretend to know. And if it breaks, they are gone: they are lost forever, and there is no remedy! Yet they trouble not themselves much about it, nor will they hearken to those who cry to them, and entreat them to take care for themselves, and labor to get out of that dangerous condition. They are not willing to take so much pains. They choose not to be diverted from amusing themselves with toys and vanities. Thus, well might the wise man say, Ecc. 9:3, “The heart of the sons of men is full of evil. Madness is in their heart while they live; and after that they go to the dead.” — How much wiser are those few, who make it their main business to lay a foundation for eternity, to secure their salvation!
II. I shall improve this subject in a use of exhortation to sinners, to take care to escape these eternal torments. If they be eternal, one would think that would be enough to awaken your concern, and excite your diligence. If the punishment be eternal, it is infinite, as we said before. And therefore no other evil, no death, no temporary torment that ever you heard of, or that you can imagine, is anything in comparison with it, but is as much less and less considerable, not only as a grain of sand is less than the whole universe, but as it is less than the boundless space which encompasses the universe. — Therefore here,
First, be entreated to consider attentively how great and awful a thing eternity is. Although you cannot comprehend it the more by considering, yet you may be made more sensible that it is not a thing to be disregarded. — Do but consider what it is to suffer extreme torment forever and ever: to suffer it day and night from one year to another, from one age to another, and from one thousand ages to another (and so adding age to age, and thousands to thousands), in pain, in wailing and lamenting, groaning and shrieking, and gnashing your teeth — with your souls full of dreadful grief and amazement, [and] with your bodies and every member full of racking torture; without any possibility of getting ease; without any possibility of moving God to pity by your cries; without any possibility of hiding yourselves from him; without any possibility of diverting your thoughts from your pain; without any possibility of obtaining any manner of mitigation, or help, or change for the better.
Second, do but consider how dreadful despair will be in such torment. How dismal will it be, when you are under these racking torments, to know assuredly that you never, never shall be delivered from them. To have no hope: when you shall wish that you might be turned into nothing, but shall have no hope of it; when you shall wish that you might be turned into a toad or a serpent, but shall have no hope of it; when you would rejoice if you might but have any relief; after you shall have endured these torments millions of ages, but shall have no hope of it. After you shall have worn out the age of the sun, moon, and stars, in your dolorous groans and lamentations, without rest day and night, or one minute’s ease, yet you shall have no hope of ever being delivered. After you shall have worn a thousand more such ages, you shall have no hope, but shall know that you are not one whit nearer to the end of your torments. But that still there are the same groans, the same shrieks, the same doleful cries, incessantly to be made by you, and that the smoke of your torment shall still ascend up forever and ever. Your souls, which shall have been agitated with the wrath of God all this while, will still exist to bear more wrath. Your bodies, which shall have been burning all this while in these glowing flames, shall not have been consumed, but will remain to roast through eternity, which will not have been at all shortened by what shall have been past.
You may by considering make yourselves more sensible than you ordinarily are. But it is a little you can conceive of what it is to have no hope in such torments. How sinking would it be to you, to endure such pain as you have felt in this world, without any hopes, and to know that you never should be delivered from it, nor have one minute’s rest! You can now scarcely conceive how doleful that would be. How much more to endure the vast weight of the wrath of God without hope! The more the damned in hell think of the eternity of their torments, the more amazing will it appear to them. And alas, they will not be able to keep it out of their minds! Their tortures will not divert them from it, but will fix their attention to it. O how dreadful will eternity appear to them after they shall have been thinking on it for ages together, and shall have so long an experience of their torments! The damned in hell will have two infinites perpetually to amaze them, and swallow them up: one is an infinite God, whose wrath they will bear, and in whom they will behold their perfect and irreconcilable enemy. The other is the infinite duration of their torment.
If it were possible for the damned in hell to have a comprehensive knowledge of eternity, their sorrow and grief would be infinite in degree. The comprehensive view of so much sorrow, which they must endure, would cause infinite grief for the present. Though they will not have a comprehensive knowledge of it, yet they will doubtless have a vastly more lively and strong apprehension of it than we can have in this world. Their torments will give them an impression of it. — A man in his present state, without any enlargement of his capacity, would have a vastly more lively impression of eternity than he has, if he were only under some pretty sharp pain in some member of his body, and were at the same time assured that he must endure that pain forever. His pain would give him a greater sense of eternity than other men have. How much more will those excruciating torments, which the damned will suffer, have this effect!
Besides, their capacity will probably be enlarged, their understandings will be quicker and stronger in a future state, and God can give them as great a sense and as strong an impression of eternity, as he pleases, to increase their grief and torment. — O be entreated, ye that are in a Christless state and are going on in a way to hell, that are daily exposed to damnation, to consider these things. If you do not, it will surely be but a little while before you will experience them, and then you will know how dreadful it is to despair in hell. And it may be before this year, or this month, or this week, is at an end: before another Sabbath, or ever you shall have opportunity to hear another sermon.
Third, that you may effectually escape these dreadful and awful torments. Be entreated to flee and embrace him who came into the world for the very end of saving sinners from these torments, who has paid the whole debt due to the divine law, and exhausted eternal in temporal sufferings. What great encouragement is it to those of you who are sensible that you are exposed to eternal punishment, that there is a Savior provided, who is able and who freely offers to save you from that punishment, and that in a way which is perfectly consistent with the glory of God: yea, which is more to the glory of God than it would be if you should suffer the eternal punishment of hell. For if you should suffer that punishment you would never pay the whole of the debt. Those who are sent to hell never will have paid the whole of the debt which they owe to God, nor indeed a part which bears any proportion to the whole. They never will have paid a part which bears so great a proportion to the whole, as one mite to ten thousand talents. Justice therefore never can be actually satisfied in your damnation. But it is actually satisfied in Christ. Therefore he is accepted of the Father, and therefore all who believe are accepted and justified in him. Therefore believe in him, come to him, commit your souls to him to be saved by him. In him you shall be safe from the eternal torments of hell. Nor is that all: but through him you shall inherit inconceivable blessedness and glory, which will be of equal duration with the torments of hell. For, as at the last day the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, so shall the righteous, or those who trust in Christ, go into life eternal.
Tags: preaching, Ryle, sermon
J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)
I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J. C. Ryle – Apostolic Fears…
Tags: preaching, sermon, Spurgeon
“For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me. Yes, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.”
1 Corinthians 9:16
THE greatest man of Apostolic times was the Apostle Paul. He was always great in everything. If you consider him as a sinner, he was exceeding sinful. If you regard him as a persecutor, he was exceeding mad against the Christians and persecuted them even unto strange cities. If you take him as a convert, his conversion was the most notable one of which we read, worked by miraculous power and by the direct voice of Jesus speaking from Heaven—“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” If we take him simply as a Christian, he was an extraordinary one, loving his Master more than others and seeking more than others to exemplify the grace of God in his life. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon – Preach the Gospel…
Tags: Baxter, preaching, sermon
As in other cases, so in this, iniquity consisteth not simply in the heart’s neglect of God, but in the preferring of some competitor, and prevalence of some object which standeth up for an opposite interest. And so the obeying man before God and against him, and the valuing the favour and approbation of man before or against the approbation of God, and the fearing of man’s censure or displeasure more than God’s, is an idolizing man, or setting him up in the place of God. It turneth our chiefest observance, and care, and labour, and pleasure, and grief into this human fleshly channel, and maketh all that to be but human in our hearts and lives, which (objectively) should be divine. Which is so great and dangerous a sin, partaking of so much impiety, hypocrisy, and pride, as that it deserveth a special place in my directions, and in all watchfulness and consideration to escape it.
As all other creatures, so especially man, must be regarded and valued only in a due subordination and subserviency to God. If they be valued otherwise, they are made his enemies, and so are to be hated, and are made the principal engine of the ruin of such as overvalue them. See what the Scripture saith of this sin: Isa. ii. 22, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” Matt. xxiii. 9, “And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father which is in heaven.” ver. 8, “And be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your Master even Christ: but he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” Jer. xx. 15, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” Psalm cxviii. 6, 8, 9, “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man can do unto me. It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man,-yea, in princes.” Job xxxii. 21, 22 “Let me not accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man: for I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my Maker would soon take me away.” Job xxi. 4, “As for me, is my complaint to man? “Gal. i. 10, “Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” I Cor. iv. 3, “But with me it is a very small thing to be judged of you, or of man’s judgment.” Luke xiv. 26, “If a man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” “Blessed are ye when man shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven,” Matt. v. Ii-, 12. “Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers,” Eph. vi. 6; Col. iii. 22. I Thess. ii. 4, “So we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who trieth our hearts.” Jude 16, “Having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.” This is enough to show you what Scripture saith of this inordinate man-pleasing, or respect to man: and now I shall proceed to direct you to escape it.
Direct. I. Understand well wherein the nature of this sin consisteth, that you may not run into the contrary extreme, but may know which way to bend your opposition. I shall therefore first show you, how far we may and must please men, and how far not.
The Proper Respect We are to Have Towards Men
Consider the Nature of Man in General
Direct II. Remember that the favour and pleasing of man is one of your snares, that would prevail against your pleasing God: therefore watch against the danger of it, as you must do against other earthly things.
Direct. III. Remember how silly a creature man is and that his favour can be no better than himself. The thoughts or words of a mortal worm are matters of no considerable value to us.
Direct. IV. Remember that it is the judgment of God alone, that your life or death for ever doth depend upon; and how little you are concerned in the judgment of man.
The Judgement of God Compared to that of Men
Direct. V. Remember that the judgment of ungodly men, is corrupted and directed by the devil and to be overruled by their censures, or too much to fear them, is to be overruled by the devil, and to be afraid of his censures of. us. And will you honour him so much? Alas! it is he that puts those thoughts into the minds of the ungodly, and those reproachful words into their mouths. To prefer the judgment of a man before God’s, is odious enough, though you did not prefer the devil’s judgment.
Direct. VI. Consider what a slavery you choose, when you thus make yourselves the servants of every man, whose censures you fear, and whose approbation you are ambitious of. I Cor. vii. 23, “Ye are bought with a price. Be not ye the servants of men:” that is, do not needlessly enthral yourselves. What a task have men-pleasers! they have as many masters as beholders! No wonder if it take them off from the service of God; for the “friendship of the world is enmity to God;” and he that will thus be “a friend of the world, is an enemy to God,” James iv. 4. They cannot serve two masters God and the world. You know men will condemn you, if you be true to God: if, therefore, you must needs have the favour of men, you must take it alone without God’s favour. A man-pleaser cannot be true to God, because he is a servant to the enemies of his service; the wind of a man’s mouth will drive him about as the chaff, from any duty, and to any sin. How servile a person is a man-pleaser! How many masters hath he, and how mean ones! It perverteth the course of your hearts and lives, and turneth all from God to this unprofitable way.
Direct. VII. Remember what a pitiful reward you seek. “Verily,” saith our Lord, concerning hypocrites and man-pleasers, “they have their reward,” Matt. vi. 25. O miserable reward! The thought and breath of mortal men, instead of God-instead of heaven; this is their reward! Their happiness will be to lie in hell, and remember that they were well spoken of on earth! and that once they were accounted religious, learned, wise, or honourable! and to remember that they preferred this reward be fore everlasting happiness with Christ! If this be not gain, your labour is all lost, which you lay out in hunting for applause. If this be enough to spend your time for, and to neglect your God for, and to lose your souls for, rejoice then in the hypocrite’s reward.
Direct. VIII. And remember that honour is such a thing as is found sooner by an honest contempt of it, than by an inordinate affection of it, and seeking it. It is a shadow which goeth from you if you follow it, and follows you as fast as you go from it. Whose names are now more honourable upon earth, than those prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and preachers, and holy, mortified christians, who in their days set lightest by the approbation of the world, and were made the scorn or foot-ball of the times in which they lived? Those that have been satisfied with the approbation of their heavenly Father, who saw them “in secret,” have been “rewarded by him openly.” It is, even in the eyes of rational men, a far greater honour to live to God, above worldly honour, than to seek it. And so much as a man is perceived to affect and seek it, so much he loseth of it: for he is thought to need it, and men perceive that he plays a low and pitiful game, that is so desirous of their applause! As they would contemn a man that should lick up the spittle of every man where he comes, so will they contemn him that liveth on their thoughts and breath, and honour him more that lives on God.
Direct. IX. If nothing else will cure this disease, at least let the impossibility of pleasing men, and attaining your ends, suffice against so fruitless an attempt. And here I shall show you how impossible it is, or, at least, a thing which you cannot reasonably expect.
The Folly of Trying to Please Men
Direct. X. Remember what a life of unquietness and continual vexation you choose, if you place your peace or happiness in the good will or word of man. For having showed you how impossible a task you undertake, it must needs follow that the pursuit of it must be a life of torment. To engage yourselves in so great cares, when you are sure to be disappointed; to make that your end, which you cannot attain; to find that you labour in vain, and daily meet with displeasure instead of the favour you expected; must needs be a very grievous life. You are like one that dwelleth on the top of a mountain, and yet cannot endure the wind to blow upon him; or like him that dwelleth in a wood, and yet is afraid of the shaking of a leaf. You dwell among a world of ulcerated, selfish, contradictory, mutable, unpleasable minds, and yet you cannot endure their displeasure. Are you magistrates? The people will murmur at you, and those that are most incompetent and uncapable will be the forwardest to censure you, and think that they could govern much better than you. Those that bear the necessary burdens of the common safety and defence, will say that you oppress them, and the malefactors that are punished, will say you deal unmercifully by them; and those that have a cause never so unjust, will say you wrong them, if it go not on their side. Are you pastors and teachers? You will seem too rough to one, and too smooth to another; yea, too rough to the same man when by reproof or censure you correct his faults, who censureth you as too smooth and a friend to sinners, when you are to deal in the cause of others. No sermon that you preach is like to be pleasing to all your hearers; nor any of your ministerial works. Are you lawyers? The clients that lost their cause, behind your backs will call you unconscionable, and say you betrayed them; and those that prevailed, will call you covetous, and tell how much money you took of them, and how little you did for it: so that it is no wonder that among the vulgar your profession is the matter of their reproach. Are you physicians? You will be accused as guilty of the death of many that die; and as covetous takers of their money whether the patient die or live; for this is the common talk of the vulgar, except with some few with whom your care has much succeeded. Are you tradesmen? Most men that buy of you are so selfish, that except you will beggar yourselves, they will say you deceive them, and deal unconscionably and sell too dear: little do they mind the necessary maintenance of your families, nor care whether you live or gain by your trading; but if you will wrong yourselves to sell them a good penny-worth, they will say you are very honest men: and yet when you are broken, they will accuse you of imprudence, and defrauding your creditors. You must buy dear and sell cheap, and live by the loss, or else displease.
Direct. XI. Remember still that the pleasing of God is your business in the world, and that in pleasing him your souls may have safety, rest, and full content, though all the world should be displeased with you. God is enough for you; and his approbation and favour is your portion and reward. How sweet and safe is the life of the sincere and upright ones, that study more to be good than to seem good, and think if God accept them that they have enough! O what a mercy is an upright heart! which renounceth the world, and all therein that stands in competition with his God; and taketh God for his God indeed even for his Lord, his Judge, his Portion, and his All: who in temptation remembereth the eye of God, and in all his duty is provoked and ruled by the will and pleasure of his Judge, and regardeth the eye and thoughts of man, but as he would do the presence of a bird or beast, unless as piety, justice, or charity, require him to have respect to man, in due subordination to God: who when men applaud him as a person of excellent holiness and goodness, is fearful and solicitous lest the all-knowing God should think otherwise of him than his applauders: and under all the censures, reproaches, and slanders of man, yea, (though through temptation good men should thus use him,) can live in peace upon the approbation of his God alone; and can rejoice in his justification by his righteous Judge and gracious Redeemer, though the inconsiderable censures of men condemn him. Verily I cannot apprehend, how any other man but this can live a life of true and solid peace and joy. If God’s approbation and favour quiet you not, nothing can rationally quiet you. If the pleasing of him does not satisfy you, though men, though good men, though all men should be displeased with you, I know not how or when you will be satisfied. Yea, if you be above the censures and displeasure of the profane and not also of the godly, (when God will permit them, as Job’s wife and friends, to be your trial,) it will not suffice to an even, contented, quiet life. And here consider
The Advantages of Pleasing God Rather than Men
1. If you seek first to please God and are satisfied therein, you have but one to please instead of multitudes; and a multitude of masters are hardlier pleased than one.
2. And it is one that putteth upon you nothing that is unreasonable, for quantity or quality.
3. And one that is perfectly wise and good, not liable to misunderstand your case and actions.
4. And one that is most holy, and is not pleased in iniquity or dishonesty.
5. And he is one that is impartial and most just, and is no respecter of persons, Acts x. 34.
6. And he is one that is a competent judge, that hath fitness and authority, and is acquainted with your hearts, and every circumstance and reason of your actions.
7. And he is one that perfectly agreeth with himself, and putteth you not upon contradictions or impossibilities.
8. And he is one that is constant and unchangeable; and is not pleased with one thing to-day, and another contrary to-morrow; nor with one person this year, whom he will be weary of the next.
9. And he is one that is merciful, and requireth you not to hurt yourselves to please him: nay, he is pleased with nothing of thine but that which tendeth to thy happiness, and displeased with nothing but that which hurts thyself or others, as a father that is displeased with his children when they defile or hurt themselves.
10. He is gentle, though just, in his censures of thee; judging truly, but not with unjust rigour, nor making your actions worse than they are.
11. He is one that is not subject to the passions of men, which blind their minds, and carry them to injustice.
12. He is one that will not be moved by tale-bearers, whisperers, or false accusers, nor can be perverted by any misinformation.
The Benefits of Seeking to Please God
Consider also the benefits of taking up with the pleasing of God. 1. The pleasing of him is your happiness itself; the matter of pure, and full, and constant comfort, which you may have continually at hand, and no man can take from you. Get this and you have the end of man; nothing can be added to it, but the perfection of the same, which is heaven itself.
2. What abundance of disappointments and vexations will you escape, which tear the very hearts of man-pleasers, and fill their lives with unprofitable sorrows!
3. It will guide and order your cares, and desires, and thoughts, and labours to their right and proper end, and prevent the perverting of them, and spending them in sin and vanity on the creature.
4. It will make your lives not only to be divine but this divine life to be sweet and easy, while you set light by human censures which would create you prejudice and difficulties. When others glory in wit, and wealth, and strength, you would glory in this, that you know the Lord, Jer. ix. 23, 24.
5. As God is above man, thy heart and life is highly ennobled by having so much respect to God, and rejecting inordinate respect to man: this is indeed to walk with God.
6. The sum of all graces is contained in this sincere desire to please thy God, and contentedness in this so far as thou findest it attained. Here is faith, and humility, and love, and, holy desire, and trust and the fear of God joined together. You “sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and make him your fear, and dread, and sanctuary,” Isa. viii. 13, 14.
7. If human approbation be good for you and worth your having, this is the best way to it; for God hath the disposal of it. “If a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him,” Prov. xvi. 7. God does this by appeasing their wrath, or restraining them from intended evil, or doing us good by that which they intend for hurt.
Signs of Living to Please God
See therefore that you live upon God’s approval as that which you chiefly seek, and will suffice you: which you may discover by these signs.
1. You will be most careful to understand the Scripture, to know what doth please and displease God.
2. You will be more careful in the doing of every duty, to fit it to the pleasing of God than men.
3. You will look to your hearts, and not only to your actions; to your ends, and thoughts, and the inward manner and degree.
4. You will look to secret duties as well as public and to that which men see not, as well as unto that which they see.
5. You will reverence your consciences, and have much to do with them, and will not slight them: when they tell you of God’s displeasure, it will disquiet you; when they tell you of his approval, it will comfort you.
6. Your pleasing men will be charitable for their good, and pious in order to the pleasing of God, and not proud and ambitious for your honour with them, nor impious against the pleasing of God.
7. Whether men be pleased or displeased, or how they judge of you, or what they call you, will seem a small matter to you, as their own interest, in comparison to God’s judgment. You live not on them. You can bear their displeasure, censures, and reproaches, if God be but pleased. These will be your evidences.
Tags: Beth, Moore, tragedy, Warren
NOTE: In an effort to keep this to fewer pages than a small book, I’ve taken out much of the “purple prose” that Miss Moore has decided to add to the story that has no bearing on what I believe her points are. However, in order to make sure that the context of the full text is available, here is a link to the full blog post on her website: http://blog.lproof.org/2013/04/sadness-and-madness.html
…Just as I sprayed the cleaner and grabbed the dishtowel, Melissa walked in staring at the screen of her phone with the oddest expression.
“Mom, I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’m seeing references on Twitter to Rick and Kay Warren losing a son.”
- Before I get into answering the problems with Miss Moore’s madness, let me make it clear that I agree that Rick and Kay Warren losing a son is a tragedy. It is the result of a number of things. While Beth Moore automatically attributes it to Satan, we really don’t know. It is possible that a demon was involved, but it may not have been that way. What we do know is that sin is involved. Not necessarily Matthew Warren’s sin, but Adam’s. The sins of Adam and Eve have tainted every aspect of humanity with its wickedness and rebellion. Because of the effects of sin, mankind hates God. It has caused the earth to groan (Romans 8:22) and man to become sons of disobedience (Eph. 5:6). Sin is the source of cancer, pride, mental illness, and death. It is known that Matthew Warren struggled with mental illness for many years. Any family losing a dear and close loved one is ultimately struggling with the effects of sin and the Christian grieves for all of them (saved or unsaved)…
…My relationship with the Warrens is the same as most of yours. I have simply been served and led well by them.
- Here is where I start disagreeing with her. I have not been “served and led well by” Rick Warren. As a matter of fact, even though I haven’t read a single book he’s written or listened to a entire message he shared, Rick Warren has made my life more difficult. Because of his teachings, he has inoculated a large number of people to the true gospel by replacing it with a false one. He has lead people to believe that they’re saved and believing in the real Christ while preaching things that oppose Him and His Word.
Although I had the joy of ministering to women on the Saddleback campus some years ago, my stay was brief and our schedules were wrapped entirely around the event. I have not had the opportunity to get to know the Warrens in the way that personal friends know one another but I always knew in my heart that I’d like them so much. We’re similar ages and in similar seasons with our families.
- Um…she doesn’t know the Warrens personally but she knows “in her heart” that she would like them so much? Am I the only one that thinks that’s a little odd? She’s taught women at Saddleback. Did she preach them the gospel? Or just tell them what’s “in her heart”?
Meanwhile, I have loved them and esteemed them in Christ as faithful and mighty servants of the living Lord Jesus Christ. And quite possibly, among the mightiest to ever serve this generation.
- She calls Rick Warren “faithful”. She obviously has a different definition of faithfulness. According to scripture, faithfulness is being obedient and rightly living according to scripture. If you’re a teacher (as both Moore and Warren are) then it also means teaching according to what scripture says and not contradicting or outright opposing scripture. This doesn’t describe Warren at all. He is an ecumenist hiding in the SBC who has no problem with Roman Catholic doctrine and even tweeting “Habemus Papum” (We have our pope).
- Warren is also known for supporting “Chrislam”, the convoluting and mixing of Christianity and Islam based on the supposed similarities between the two religions. Even though they really have nothing substantial in common (I already wrote on this here). Add to this that Warren is a Druckerite who values community more than the individual and the fact that it is extremely hard to get Warren to give a clear answer on any issue facing the church today. He has said that homosexuals will not go to hell for being homosexual but for “rejecting the grace of God”.
- To add to this that Warren is “among the mightiest to serve this generation” is almost hysterical. If he’s not faithful to scripture and is unwilling to defend the truth of God against those who hate Him, how can he be considered to be “among the mightiest”? What criteria is Moore using to determine this? The number of copies of “Purpose Driven Life” he’s sold? The number of people he “preaches” to every weekend? “The Bible” miniseries?
…An odd mix of feelings overtook me with increasing force through the afternoon and into the early evening. The sadder I got, the madder I got. Mad at an astonishing satanic force that stoops viciously and swoops in unscrupulously to attack children and to prey on their weaknesses as they grow up, shooting so relentlessly at one spot that they can barely get to their feet between arrows. I’ve been that child and many of you have, too.
- If you are mad at the fact that Satan seeks to destroy mankind for the sheer pleasure he gets in doing it, join the club. What is a little confusing is why she would think that the devil would have scruples? He HATES God. It doesn’t make it easier for us to deal with, but we understand that and trust in God. I don’t know that it was Satan himself attacking me, but I have no doubt that I’ve been in situations that involved the ruler of this world’s minions. It is the connection that Moore makes next that gets me wondering and a little aggravated…
Madder still that the devil in all likelihood delights in nothing more than targeting the children and dearest loved ones of true servants of God. Nothing tries our faith like the suffering of our children. At the end of the day, our faith is what the devil is after most. Without it, it’s impossible to please God. This is why Paul could say with relief nearly palpable on the page of his final letter, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”
- It is clear from scripture that the devil not only targets our children, he targets our health, our livelihood, and our marriages too. Job makes all of this clear. Not only that, he stands before God accusing us and trying to condemn us. However, it is NOT our faith that the devil is after most. He is after our very soul. This would seem to reveal Moore’s belief in how man is saved but I’ll leave that for another blog. She’s right in that it’s impossible to please God without faith, but I’m not really sure what that has to do with the death of Rick Warren’s son or the point she seems to be trying to make…
…And then, in that mixture of emotions Saturday afternoon, I got madder and madder at the bullies in the Body of Christ. I thought how much it turns out that the Warrens have been through personally and, if they are like most leaders, all the while putting out fires and putting up with a bunch of trash-talk from people who would call the same Jesus Lord.
- Hmmm…Moore starts about by talking about how she got “madder and madder” at Satan for attacking Rick Warren’s son and now she’s talking about how she got “madder and madder” at the bullies in the body of Christ. Are they on the same team Beth? If not, then how exactly do you define “Christian bully”? What makes one a Christian bully if I may ask? Is it just disagreeing with someone? Is that what you call “trash-talk”? If so, this would cause me to ask a couple of questions.
- First, scripture says that we are to compare everything that we hear (inside and outside of church) with what scripture says. Anything that doesn’t line up with scripture rightly divided is wrong and needs to be defended against. Is Beth Moore arguing against this? Second, debate and discussion is supposed to happen in the body of Christ. It has allowed the church to determine the proper scriptural response to heresies throughout the life of the church. How would you recommend we go about responding to those we disagree with if not through debate and discussion? Should we write then a nice, non-threatening letter and send it with a fruit basket? Finally, if the discussion and debate that comes from comparing what Warren says to scripture is considered “trash-talk” then what does that say about your view of scripture, especially when you’re considered a Bible teacher of highest regard by some, and how does this view compare to the things that Paul, Peter, John, and Jesus Himself said to false teachers?
God help us. In the words of James, These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.
- The irony of this line isn’t lost on me although I would bet that it was unintentional. The beginning of this chapter in James (chapter 3) starts with “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” Ironic considering we’re talking about Rick Warren huh? If he’s teaching false doctrine, he will incur a stricter judgment from God. Moore said above that she “loves and esteems (him) in Christ”. If that’s true, and she knows that he’ll be judged more strictly as a teacher, wouldn’t she have enough concern for him to check his teaching against scripture and tell him when he’s wrong? Would that mean it’s safe to say that the “bullies” are more loving toward Warren than Moore is?
I don’t believe one of us here in this community thinks that leaders should be immune to questions, constructive criticism, and accountability. That’s not the kind of thing I’m talking about here. I’m talking about bullying. There are Scriptural means for going to a brother or sister to reason with them about matters we genuinely consider to be off base, misleading, or in error. You and I both know that much of what happens out there in public forums is the furthest thing from biblical.
- In limiting the options to what you like or agree with (questions, constructive criticism, accountability) you have ignored scripture and what it says. It says that we are to mark those who cause division and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine we’ve been taught (Romans 16:17-18). If Warren is teaching false doctrines, then doesn’t that verse apply to him? Paul says that anyone who preaches a different gospel is to be anathema (damned to hell – Gal. 1:8). Again, does this apply to Warren? Not only that, but we also have the examples of how false teachers were handled in the history of the church. Jesus had no soft words or constructive criticism for the Pharisees (Matt. 23). Athanasius made it clear that he thought that Arius was the “spawn of Satan”. And it goes on through the Reformers. The harsh language reserved for heretics and false teachers has been mothballed by generations that no longer seem to be concerned with what really matters…
It is slander.
- This is one of the more interesting statements in this blog. She has set up her position and downplayed those she’s speaking out against, and now she’s going to add more. She calls the “bullying” by some in the body of Christ “slander”. Slander is when someone says something untrue in an effort to damage a person’s reputation. The key word here is untrue. Are those calling Warren a false teacher really slandering him? Is what they are saying really untrue? The best way to determine this is to see what scripture actually says and compare it to what Warren (and anyone else for that matter) is teaching. If they don’t line up, then there are problems. If someone is teaching something false out of ignorance, then it is necessary to go to them and correct them so that they can grow and mature in Christ. If someone is teaching falsely even though they know what scripture actually says, this is a whole different issue. Rick Warren is well aware of the comments and refutations regarding what he teaches and he continues to teach those things. Moore also has a problem with people being so public about their “attacks” on Warren. She either ignores or fails to recognize that due to the fact that Rick Warren preaches and teaches publicly, he is open to public rebuke for his false teaching.
- I do have another question for Beth though. What about God’s reputation? If Warren is teaching false doctrines to thousands of people, wouldn’t that be slandering God’s reputation? He’s saying something untrue that is damaging God’s reputation. In this case, whose reputation should I be more concerned about, God’s or Warren’s? Seeing as how God is holy, just, righteous, and true; and seeing how pastors like Warren are to be teaching the truth that God has given them rightly and honestly; if Warren is teaching falsely, he’s not obeying scripture and is slandering God. He’s leading sheep astray and making people comfortable on their way to hell. For someone like Moore who is touted as a bible teacher to defend someone who has been shown, time and again, to twist and ignore scripture to suit his own needs doesn’t give me a lot of incentive to accept what Moore teaches any more than what Warren does…
I went on a walk through the woods Saturday late afternoon and did something I don’t often do. I cried angry tears. I got so mad that I could have hit somebody. I kept thinking how believers attack one another and sling stones at each other like the other can’t bruise or break. And all the while that person may be in so much personal pain that it’s nearly unbearable. I’m not transferring this to the Warrens. I do not know them personally. I’m telling you what I know to be true about most people out there. Most of us are in significant pain of some kind. That doesn’t mean defeat necessarily. It just means pain.
- She cried “angry tears” and “got so mad she could hit somebody”. Really? Like one of the “bullies”? Wouldn’t that make you a bully too? Moore seems to have a lot of difficulty differentiating between unbiblical, wicked, slanderous attacks on the character of sound Bible teachers and true believers versus the honest and open defense of scripture against the false teachings of people like Rick Warren. They are very different. One is condemned in scripture and the other is commanded. She compares presenting scriptural arguments against false teaching with “attacks” and “slinging stones”. While it may be true that the false teacher may be in personal pain, should we just forgo the truth because of personal situations? I have yet to see a Christian cheer over the death of Warren’s son because Warren is a false teacher. I have heard many of them ask others to pray for the Warrens as they deal with the tragedy, so it may be a little unclear where Moore is going with this, but I have an idea.
- She says that she’s not “transferring this to the Warrens”. She changed the focus of her rant. It’s no longer about Rick Warren and the attacks on him. Who then is this about? Could it be that Beth Moore has gone from trying to defend Rick Warren to defending herself? Moore may be a well-known and loved personality in the SBC, but she has a number of things she’s said that causes concern for someone like me. She claims to hear from God directly (http://lifetoday.org/video/filled-to-the-measure-2/) even fighting with Him and claiming Jesus is “the bossiest thing”. She has heard Him speak to her on numerous occasions things that are not in scripture. This would make her a prophetess wouldn’t it? All of the things that “God” has said to her could be written down in a book and added to the Bible we have today. She has preached at churches (including Louie Giglio’s church in Atlanta: http://www.passioncitychurch.com/watch#PCC-070112-V1) in front of mixed crowds, which is against scripture (something a Bible teacher should understand, no?). She has encouraged thousands of people to engage in the Catholic mysticism known as Lectio Divina (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0zei-gHTyQ) at the Passion 2012 conference (Louie Giglio’s brainchild…).
Life is hard enough without hatefulness rife in the Body of Christ. We are called to carry one another’s burdens, not pile relentlessly on top of them. We can still hold one another accountable. We can still ask questions. We can still disagree. But we can do it with respect.
- Wait. We went from bullying to “hatefulness”. Moore does realize that hatefulness would be a sin right (Matt. 5:21-26)? She says that we are called to share others burdens, and that’s true, but what does that have to do with calling out false teachers? She seems to imply that those calling for false teachers to repent are piling “relentlessly on top of them”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it the false teachers twisting scripture and slandering God’s reputation that brought the responses from Bible loving Christians upon them? If they didn’t want to be “piled on” why did they teach false doctrines? She says that we can hold others accountable, ask questions, and disagree; just with respect. So, if Moore was angry enough to hit someone like me because I think that Warren is a false teacher, which side of the line does that fall on? Is that respectful? She calls for respect from the people she’s named as haters, slanderers, and bullies. Hmmm…something’s not right here….
- Not only that, but what about carrying the burdens of the thousands of people who have been damaged and deluded by false teachers. Word of Faith (WoF) teachers like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and Jesse Duplantis have taken every last penny from people following them in the name of God. What about their burdens? Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels, and others have replaced the truth of the gospel with a seeker-sensitive shadow of the truth that doesn’t convict of sin or give people solid theological ground to stand on. What about them? Should we ignore these people and what they’re dealing with in the name of “love” and “unity”?
I’m sick of the bullying. The mud-slinging and the meanness. I’m sick of careless, idle words thrown out there in the public square and professing believers in Christ standing on the necks of their own brothers and sisters to sound smart and superior. As if it’s not enough that we are surrounded in this culture by Christian haters, we’ve got to have our own hater-Christians. It’s insane.
- She’s sick of the mudslinging? Like the name calling she’s participated in? She says that the words are careless and idle and just thrown about by “professing believers” who are “standing on the necks of their brothers and sisters to sound smart and superior”. Has Moore actually looked at the critiques against Warren and herself? Surely a Bible teacher who has taken to memorizing scripture and has taught for years like she has could honestly and objectively look at the things said in light of scripture and see what the truth is, right? Surely, if Moore did that and found that she was wrong, she would repent of those things and change her life to conform to scripture, right? Surely she understands that she isn’t the only one who is concerned for the body of Christ and the detrimental effects that false doctrine has on people. She sets up a straw man of those she disagrees with. She is sure that these “professing believers” are doing it for just these specific reasons and doesn’t need to look any further. All she has to do is light the match and watch him burn. Interestingly, Moore uses the term “professing believers”. I use this term myself when talking about people who give Christ lip service but don’t live according to scripture. I wonder if she has the same meaning? Sure seems like it…
When we turn people into caricatures, everything’s game. The moment we depersonalize them, our consciences harden and we can mock and slander at will and have a blast doing it. Snide blogs and tweets and Facebook posts about various leaders can also be effective ways to jump in their spotlight. Bullies aren’t just mean. They’re self-serving. They’re platform-hunting. They have to borrow one to perform.
- This is funny really. She’s spent much of her writing caricaturing those who disagree with her and defend scripture and depersonalized them to mock and slander them, but doesn’t seem to mind that. It’s only those who are opposing her and Warren and others like her that are the “bad guys”. She’s against snide remarks (like “professing Christians”?) unless of course they are directed at the “bullies”. According to Moore, this is all about “jumping in the spotlight”. It’s all about being “self-serving” and “platform-hunting”. Hmmm. Would she mean self-serving and platform hunting like hijacking a moment of tragedy in order to make her case against “bullies” and “hater-Christians”?
No, I don’t think that saying all of this will change it much but some things still need to be said. Sometimes we need to speak up and call something wrong. There’s a bigger issue in the Body of Christ than immorality. It’s hatefulness. If the greatest priority Christ assigned to us was love, the gravest offender is hate.
- “Sometimes we need to speak up and call something wrong”. Unless of course we’re calling false teaching by popular megachurch pastors wrong. Then that’s bullying and hating. She says there’s a bigger issue in the body than immorality. Really? And it’s hatefulness? Is it the body that’s being hateful? Or does it just feel that way to false teachers?…Christ did call us to love, saying that others would know that we were Christians by the love we show to the brethren. He didn’t say we were to love in a vacuum though and He didn’t say that we were to love above all else and without condition. Not only that but Christ Himself gives us a great example of how to handle false teachers in Matthew 23. Maybe Beth hasn’t gotten that far yet in her teaching or she would know that Christ publicly rebukes the Pharisees for their false teaching and leading others away from God. But I’m sure that Beth would never call Jesus unloving or a hater, huh?…
…But even now at the hardest moment of their lives the Warrens can teach something vital if we are willing to learn. Their heartbreak demonstrates what has always been true but has never been more profoundly overlooked: these who serve us publicly also suffer privately. They are not caricatures. They are not just personalities. They are people living on a painful planet with the rest of us.
- Uh…wasn’t the death of their son announced publicly? While I’m sure that they’re suffering privately to some degree, it’s not like Beth makes it out to be. They are public figures and have made themselves that way. The death of their son was all over Twitter and was news for many sources that day. That’s not exactly suffering privately. In spite of the suffering that I’m sure the Warrens are going through, they have not served the body of Christ. They have done damage to the body through their teachings and unless they repent, it will not be good for them when they stand before God. She’s right though. They’re not just caricatures or personalities, they are people; sinful, wretched people just like everyone else…
The Warrens will come forth like gold. The enemy will not win. They will fight the good fight. They will finish the race. They will keep the faith.
- Seeing as how we don’t really know this, it would seem that Beth is giving a prophecy? I don’t know. It may just be that she hopes that the Warrens have the same thing she hopes to have.
I love the Body of Christ. I don’t want want to get cynical. I don’t want to sit around and hate the haters or I become one. But this morning I just want to say this. We can love each other better. Let’s do. People have enough hurt. Let’s be careful with one another.
- Moore loves the body of Christ. “Professing Christians”? Not so much. She doesn’t want to be cynical or become a hater…well, unless it’s when she’s speaking out against the bullies who are wrong to hold her and Warren and others to strict biblical truth. We can love each other better. Unless it’s those “hater-Christians” who have nothing better to do than slander false teachers. Loving someone means that sometimes you have to be honest and tell them the truth, even if they’re not going to like it. Overall, it seems that the whole article was a self-serving, spotlight jumping attempt for Moore to protect herself. A little hypocritical if you ask me…
Tags: preaching, sermon, Whitefield
Justification by Christ
1 Corinthians 6:11, “But ye are justified.” The whole verse is: “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God.”
It has been objected by some, who dissent from, nay, I may add, by others also, who actually are friends to the present ecclesiastical establishment, that the ministers of the Church of England preach themselves, and not Christ Jesus the Lord; that they entertain their people with lectures of mere morality, without declaring to them the glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ. How well grounded such an objection may be, is not my business to inquire: All I shall say at present to the point is, that whenever such a grand objection is urged against the whole body of the clergy in general, every honest minister of Jesus Christ should do his utmost to cut off all manner of occasion, from those who desire an occasion to take offense at us; that so by hearing us continually sounding forth the word of truth, and declaring with all boldness and assurance of faith, “that there is no other name given under heaven, whereby they can be saved, but that of Jesus Christ,” they may be ashamed of this their same confident boasting against us. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – Justification by Christ…
Tags: Philpot, preaching, sermon
“Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.” Psalm 119:17
What a fund of true and vital experience is contained in Psalm 119! What simplicity and godly sincerity shine through it! What breathings after God’s presence and manifested favor! What desires to live to the glory of God! What fervent pourings out of the Psalmist’s heart, that he might be enabled to keep God’s precepts!
THREE FEATURES especially seem to my mind stamped upon this blessed portion of God’s word. The first is—a deep sense of the Psalmist’s sinfulness and helplessness. “My soul,” he cries, “cleaves to the dust; quicken me according to your word.” (verse 25.) “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant; for I do not forget your commandments.” (verse 176.) And indeed, what I may call the substratum of the whole Psalm is, “creature weakness and helplessness”. This feeling lies under well-near every petition; and springing out of it, and built upon it, is David’s earnest cry that the Lord would supply his needs. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Philpot – The Master’s Bounty, and the Servant’s Obedience…
Tags: preaching, sermon, Spurgeon
“Christ Jesus whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood”
We commenced the services in this place by the declaration that here Christ shall be preached. Our Brother who followed us expressed his joy that Christ was preached herein. He did rejoice, yes, and would rejoice and our friends must have observed how throughout the other services there has been a most blessed admixture not only of the true spirit of Christ but of pointed and admirable reference to the glories and beauties of His Person. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon – Christ Set Forth As A Propitiation…
Tags: miniseries, The Bible, truth
I’m going to start out by telling my readers (both of you) that this is probably not going to be post you think it is. Before we get started with all of that, it is important that you understand what an allegory is. Merriam-Webster defines an allegory as: “the expression of truths or generalizations about human existence by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions”. Dictionary.com defines an allegory as: “a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.” In regards to the Bible, allegory is not something new. Many of the early church fathers took portions of scripture as allegorical and interpreted them as such. This should not be how we interpret the Bible, unless the scriptures call for that. Unless it’s clear that the scriptures are meant to be allegorical, then we should understand scripture as it’s presented (history, poetry, etc.). Continue Reading The Bible as Allegory…