Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Sunday Sermon - October 31 2010

 On the Christian Life Chapter 3 part b
By John Calvin Edited by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades

Our most merciful Father requires not only to prevent our weakness, but often to correct our past faults, that he may keep us in due obedience. Therefore, whenever we are afflicted we ought immediately to call to mind our past life. In this way we will find that the faults which we have committed are deserving of such castigation. And yet the exhortation to patience is not to be founded chiefly on the acknowledgment of sin. For Scripture supplies a far better consideration when it says, that in adversity “we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world,” (1 Corinthians 9:32) Therefore, in the very bitterness of tribulation we ought to recognize the kindness and mercy of our Father, since even then he ceases not to further our salvation. For he afflicts, not that he may ruin or destroy but rather that he may deliver us from the condemnation of the world. Let this thought lead us to what Scripture elsewhere teaches: “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth,” (Proverbs 3:11, 12.) When we perceive our Father’s rod, is it not our part to behave as obedient docile sons rather than rebelliously imitate desperate men, who are hardened in wickedness? God dooms us to destruction, if he does not, by correction, call us back when we have fallen off from him, so that it is truly said, “If ye be without chastisement,” “then are ye bastards, and not sons,” (Hebrews 12:8) We are most perverse then if we cannot bear him while he is manifesting his good-will to us, and the care which he takes of our salvation. Scripture states the difference between believers and unbelievers to be, that the latter, as the slaves of inveterate and deep-seated iniquity, only become worse and more obstinate under the lash; whereas the former, like free-born sons turn to repentance. Now, therefore, choose your class. But as I have already spoken of this subject, it is sufficient to have here briefly adverted to it.

There is singular consolation, moreover, when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. For our thought should then be, How high the honour which God bestows upon us in distinguishing us by the special badge of his soldiers. By suffering persecution for righteousness’ sake, I mean not only striving for the defense of the Gospel, but for the defense of righteousness in any way. Whether, therefore, in maintaining the truth of God against the lies of Satan, or defending the good and innocent against the injuries of the bad, we are obliged to incur the offence and hatred of the world, so as to endanger life, fortune, or honour, let us not grieve or decline so far to spend ourselves for God; let us not think ourselves wretched in those things in which he with his own lips has pronounced us blessed, (Matthew 5:10) Poverty, indeed considered in itself, is misery; so are exile, contempt, imprisonment, ignominy: in fine, death itself is the last of all calamities. But when the favour of God breathes upon is, there is none of these things which may not turn out to our happiness. Let us then be contented with the testimony of Christ rather than with the false estimate of the flesh, and then, after the example of the Apostles, we will rejoice in being “counted worthy to suffer shame for his name,” (Acts 5:41) For why? If, while conscious of our innocence, we are deprived of our substance by the wickedness of man, we are, no doubt, humanly speaking, reduced to poverty; but in truth our riches in heaven are increased: if driven from our homes we have a more welcome reception into the family of God; if vexed and despised, we are more firmly rooted in Christ; if stigmatized by disgrace and ignominy, we have a higher place in the kingdom of God; and if we are slain, entrance is thereby given us to eternal life. The Lord having set such a price upon us, let us be ashamed to estimate ourselves at less than the shadowy and evanescent allurements of the present life.

Since by these, and similar considerations, Scripture abundantly solaces us for the ignominy or calamities which we endure in defense of righteousness, we are very ungrateful if we do not willingly and cheerfully receive them at the hand of the Lord, especially since this form of the cross is the most appropriate to believers, being that by which Christ desires to be glorified in us, as Peter also declares, (1 Peter 4:11, 14) But as to ingenuous natures, it is more bitter to suffer disgrace than a hundred deaths, Paul expressly reminds us that not only persecution, but also disgrace awaits us, “because we trust in the living God,” (1 Tim. 4:10) So in another passage he bids us, after his example, walk “by evil report and good report,” (2 Corinthians 4:8) The cheerfulness required, however, does not imply a total insensibility to pain. The saints could show no patience under the cross if they were not both tortured with pain and grievously molested. Were there no hardship in poverty, no pain in disease, no sting in ignominy, no fear in death, where would be the fortitude and moderation in enduring them? But while every one of these, by its inherent bitterness, naturally vexes the mind, the believer in this displays his fortitude, that though fully sensible of the bitterness and laboring grievously, he still withstands and struggles boldly; in this displays his patience, that though sharply stung, he is however curbed by the fear of God from breaking forth into any excess; in this displays his alacrity, that though pressed with sorrow and sadness, he rests satisfied with spiritual consolation from God.

Scriptures as used above;

1 Corinthians 11:32; Proverbs 3:11, 12; Hebrews 12:8; Matthew 5:10; Acts 5:41;
1 Peter 4:11, 14; 1 Timothy 4:10; 2 Corinthians 4:8;

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 8:12-15

12 Therefore brethren, we are debtors not to the
flesh, to live after the flesh:
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but
if ye mortify the deeds of the body by the Spirit, ye
shall live. (a)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the Spirit of bondage,
to fear again: but ye have received the Spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

(a) Editor’s note - Mortify - To destroy the organic texture of - Source Webster’s Dictionary 1913 edition

Additional related study scriptures

Isaiah 56:5-7;
Mark 14:36;
Romans 6:7, 14;
Galatians 2:20;
Galatians 5:18;
Galatians 6:8;
Ephesians 4:22;
2 Timothy 1:7;
Hebrews 2:15;
1 Peter 4:1-2, 6;
1 John 4:3;

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 8:6-8

6 For the wisdom of the flesh is death: but the
wisdom of the Spirit is life and peace,
7 Because the wisdom of the flesh is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God,
neither indeed can be. (a)
8 So then they that are in the flesh, cannot
please God.

(a) Editor’s thought - It cannot be subject to the Law because it rejects God and His wisdom and considers it of little or no importance, value, or worse, not wisdom.

Additional related study scriptures

Job 21:14;
Psalm 10:3-4, 6, 11, 13;
Psalm 14:1;
Proverbs 15:14;
Proverbs 19:3;
Isaiah 55:9;
Daniel 5:23;
Micah 4:12;
1 Corinthians 1:18, 25;
1 Corinthians 2:14;
1 Corinthians 3:19;
Galatians 6:8;
James 4:4;

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 8:3-5

3 For (that that was impossible to the Law,
inasmuch as it was weak, because of the flesh) God
sending his own Son, in the similitude of sinful
flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh,
4 That that righteousness of the Law might be
fulfilled in us, which walk not after the flesh, but
after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh, savor the
things of the flesh: but they that are after the Spirit,
the things of the Spirit.

Additional related study scriptures

Matthew 21:37;
Mark 12:6;
John 3:6, 14-17;
Acts 3:26;
Acts 13:39;
2 Corinthians 5:21;
Galatians 4:4-6;
Galatians 5:16, 21-25;
1 John 4:9-10;

Monday, October 25, 2010

Worked hard or hardly worked?

The Daily Meditation - Romans 7:15, 20-25

Editor’s note - Today I am doing something a bit different in the study. I am going to include the actual study notes by the Puritan readers of the Geneva Translation. It never ceases to amaze me how the Word of God, is always consistent in it’s message. So dear member be prepared for a long study today.

15 For I allow not that which I do: for what I
would, that do I not: but what I hate, that do I. (a)
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I
that do it, but the sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then that when I would do good, I am
thus yoked, that evil is present with me. (b)
22 For I delight in the Law of God, concerning
the inner man. (c)
23 But I see another Law in my members, rebelling
against the law of my 1mind, and leading me captive
unto the law of sin, which is in my members. (d)
24 O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver
me from the body of this death! (e)
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Then I myself in my mind serve the Law of God,
but in my flesh the law of sin. (f)

(a) 7:15 1 He setteth himself, being regenerate, before us, for an example,
in whom may easily appear the strife of the Spirit and the flesh, and
therefore of the Law of God, and our wickedness. For since that the
Law in a man not regenerate bringeth forth death only, therefore in
him it may easily be accused: but seeing that in a man which is regenerate,
it bringeth forth good fruit, it doth better appear that evil actions
proceed not from the Law, but from sin, that is, from our corrupt nature:
And therefore the Apostle teacheth also, what the true use of the Law
is, in reproving sin in the regenerate, unto the end of the chapter, as
a little before (to wit, from the seventh verse unto this fifteenth) he
declared the use of it in them which are not regenerate.
2 The deeds of my life, saith he, answer not, nay they are contrary
to my will: Therefore by the consent of my will with the Law, and
repugnancy with the deeds of my life, it appeareth evidently, that the
Law and a right ruled do persuade one thing, but corruption which
hath her seat also in the regenerate, another thing.
3 It is to be noted, that one selfsame man is said to will and not to will,
in divers respects: to wit, he is said to will, in that, that he is regenerate
by grace: and not to will, in that, that he is not regenerate, or in that, that
he is such an one as he was born. But because the part which is regenerate,
at length becometh conqueror, therefore Paul sustaining the part
of the regenerate, speaketh in such sort as if the corruption which sinneth
willingly, were something without a man: although afterward he
granteth that this evil is in his flesh, or in his members.

(b) 7:21 1 The conclusion: As the Law of God exhorteth to goodness,
so doth the Law of sin (that is, the corruption wherein we are born)
force us to wickedness: but the Spirit, that is, our mind, in that that it
is regenerate, consenteth with the Law of God: but the flesh, that is,
the whole natural man, is bondslave to the Law of sin. Therefore to
be short, wickedness and death are not of the Law, but of sin, which
reigneth in them that are not regenerate: for they neither will, nor do
good, but will, and do evil: But in them that are regenerate, it striveth
against the Spirit or law of the mind, so that they cannot either live so
well as they would, or be so void of sin as they would.

(c) 7:22 1 The inner man, and the new man are all one, and are answerable
and set as contrary to the old man: neither doth this word, Inner
man, signify man’s mind and reason, and the old man, the powers
that are under them, as the Philosophers imagine, but by the outward
man is meant whatsoever is either without or within a man, from top
to toe, so long as that man is not born anew by the grace of God.

(d) 7:23 1 The law of the mind in this place, is not to be understood of
the mind as it is naturally, and as our mind is from our birth, but of the
mind which is renewed by the Spirit of God.

(e) 7:24 1 It is a miserable thing to be yet in part subject to sin, which
of its own nature maketh us guilty of death: but we must cry to the
Lord, who will by death itself at length make us conquerors as we are
already conquerors in Christ.
2 Wearied with miserable and continual conflict.

(f) 7:25 1 He recovereth himself, and showeth us that he resteth only
in Christ.
2 This is the true perfection of them that are born anew, to confess
that they are imperfect.

Additional related study scripture

Job 15:16;
Psalm 1:1-2;
Psalm 112:1;
Psalm 128:1;
Isaiah 64:6;
Zechariah 3:4;
Romans 6:13, 19;
Romans 7:19;
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 57;
2 Corinthians 4:16;
Ephesians 3:16;
Galatians 5:17;
1 Peter 3:4;

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Sunday Sermon by John Calvin

On the Christian Life - Chapter 3 Part a

THE pious mind must ascend still higher, namely, whither Christ calls his disciples when he says, that every one of them must “take up his cross,” (Matthew 16:24.) Those whom the Lord has chosen and honoured with his intercourse must prepare for a hard, laborious, troubled life, a life full of many and various kinds of evils; it being the will of our heavenly Father to exercise his people in this way while putting them to the proof. Having begun this course with Christ the first-born, he continues it towards all his children. For though that Son was dear to him above others, the Son in whom he was “well pleased,” yet we see, that far from being treated gently and indulgently, we may say, that not only was he subjected to a perpetual cross while he dwelt on earth, but his whole life was nothing else than a kind of perpetual cross. The Apostle assigns the reason, “Though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered,” (Hebrews 5:8.) Why then should we exempt ourselves from that condition to which Christ our Head behoved to submit; especially since he submitted on our account, that he might in his own person exhibit a model of patience? Wherefore, the Apostle declares, that all the children of God are destined to be conformed to him. Hence it affords us great consolation in hard and difficult circumstances, which men deem evil and adverse, to think that we are holding fellowship with the sufferings of Christ; that as he passed to celestial glory through a labyrinth of many woes, so we too are conducted thither through various tribulations. For, in another passage, Paul himself thus speaks, “we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God,” (Acts 14:22) and again, “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death,” (Romans 8: 29.) How powerfully should it soften the bitterness of the cross, to think that the more we are afflicted with adversity, the surer we are made of our fellowship with Christ; by communion with whom our sufferings are not only blessed to us, but tend greatly to the furtherance of our salvation.

We may add, that the only thing which made it necessary for our Lord to undertake to bear the cross, was to testify and prove his obedience to the Father; whereas there are many reasons which make it necessary for us to live constantly under the cross. Feeble as we are by nature, and prone to ascribe all perfection to our flesh, unless we receive as it were ocular demonstration of our weakness, we readily estimate our virtue above its proper worth, and doubt not that, whatever happens, it will stand unimpaired and invincible against all difficulties. Hence we indulge a stupid and empty confidence in the flesh, and then trusting to it wax proud against the Lord himself; as if our own faculties were sufficient without his grace. This arrogance cannot be better repressed than when He proves to us by experience, not only how great our weakness, but also our frailty is. Therefore, he visits us with disgrace, or poverty, or bereavement, or disease, or other afflictions. Feeling altogether unable to support them, we forthwith, in so far as regards ourselves, give way, and thus humbled learn to invoke his strength, which alone can enable us to bear up under a weight of affliction. Nay, even the holiest of men, however well aware that they stand not in their own strength, but by the grace of God, would feel too secure in their own fortitude and constancy, were they not brought to a more thorough knowledge of themselves by the trial of the cross. This feeling gained even upon David, “In my prosperity I Said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled,” (Psalm 30:6, 7) He confesses that in prosperity his feelings were dulled and blunted, so that, neglecting the grace of God, on which alone he ought to have depended, he leant to himself, and promised himself perpetuity. If it so happened to this great prophet, who of us should not fear and study caution? Though in tranquillity they flatter themselves with the idea of greater constancy and patience, yet, humbled by adversity, they learn the deception. Believers, I say, warned by such proofs of their diseases, make progress in humility, and, divesting themselves of a depraved confidence in the flesh, betake themselves to the grace of God, and, when they have so betaken themselves, experience the presence of the divine power, in which is ample protection.

This Paul teaches when he says that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience. God having promised that he will be with believers in tribulation, they feel the truth of the promise; while supported by his hand, they endure patiently. This they could never do by their own strength. Patience, therefore, gives the saints an experimental proof that God in reality furnishes the aid which he has promised whenever there is need. Hence also their faith is confirmed, for it were very ungrateful not to expect that in future the truth of God will be, as they have already found it, firm and constant. We now see how many advantages are at once produced by the cross. Overturning the overweening opinion we form of our own virtue, and detecting the hypocrisy in which we delight, it removes our pernicious carnal confidence, teaching us, when thus humbled, to recline on God alone, so that we neither are oppressed nor despond. Then victory is followed by hope, inasmuch as the Lord, by performing what he has promised, establishes his truth in regard to the future. Were these the only reasons, it is surely plain how necessary it is for us to bear the cross. It is of no little importance to be rid of your self-love, and made fully conscious of your weakness; so impressed with a sense of your weakness as to learn to distrust yourself—to distrust yourself so as to transfer your confidence to God, reclining on him with such heartfelt confidence as to trust in his aid, and continue invincible to the end, standing by his grace so as to perceive that he is true to his promises, and so assured of the certainty of his promises as to be strong in hope.

Another end which the Lord has in afflicting his people is to try their patience, and train them to obedience—not that they can yield obedience to him except in so far as he enables them; but he is pleased thus to attest and display striking proofs of the graces which he has conferred upon his saints, lest they should remain within unseen and unemployed. Accordingly, by bringing forward openly the strength and constancy of endurance with which he has provided his servants, he is said to try their patience. Hence the expressions that God tempted Abraham, (Genesis 21:1, 12,) and made proof of his piety by not declining to sacrifice his only son. Hence, too, Peter tells us that our faith is proved by tribulation, just as gold is tried in a furnace of fire. But who will say it is not expedient that the most excellent gift of patience which the believer has received from his God should be applied to uses by being made sure and manifest? Otherwise men would never value it according to its worth. But if God himself, to prevent the virtues which he has conferred upon believers from lurking in obscurity, nay, lying useless and perishing, does aright in supplying materials for calling them forth, there is the best reason for the afflictions of the saints, since without them their patience could not exist. I say, that by the cross they are also trained to obedience, because they are thus taught to live not according to their own wish, but at the disposal of God. Indeed, did all things proceed as they wish, they would not know what it is to follow God. Seneca mentions (De Vit. Beata, cap. xv.) that there was an old proverb when any one was exhorted to endure adversity, “Follow God“; thereby intimating, that men truly submitted to the yoke of God only when they gave their back and hand to his rod. But if it is most right that we should in all things prove our obedience to our heavenly Father, certainly we ought not to decline any method by which he trains us to obedience.

Still, however, we see not how necessary that obedience is, unless we at the same time consider how prone our carnal nature is to shake off the yoke of God whenever it has been treated with some degree of gentleness and indulgence. It just happens to it as with refractory horses, which, if kept idle for a few days at hack and manger, become ungovernable, and no longer recognize the rider, whose command before they implicitly obeyed. And we invariably become what God complains of in the people of Israel—waxing gross and fat, we kick against him who reared and nursed us, (Deuteronomy 32: 15.) The kindness of God should allure us to ponder and love his goodness; but since such is our malignity, that we are invariably corrupted by his indulgence, it is more than necessary for us to be restrained by discipline from breaking forth into such petulance. Thus, lest we become emboldened by an over-abundance of wealth; lest elated with honour, we grow proud; lest inflated with other advantages of body, or mind, or fortune, we grow insolent, the Lord himself interferes as he sees to be expedient by means of the cross, subduing and curbing the arrogance of our flesh, and that in various ways, as the advantage of each requires. For as we do not all equally labour under the same disease, so we do not all need the same difficult cure. Hence we see that all are not exercised with the same kind of cross. While the heavenly Physician treats some more gently, in the case of others he employs harsher remedies, his purpose being to provide a cure for all. Still none is left free and untouched, because he knows that all, without a single exception, are diseased.

Scriptures as used above in the order quoted

Matthew 16:24; Hebrews 5:8; Acts 14:22; Romans 8:29; Genesis 21:1, 12; Deuteronomy 32:15;

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 7:7, 12, 14

7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? God
forbid. Nay, I knew not sin, but by the Law: for I
had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou
shalt not lust.
12 Wherefore the Law is holy, and that commandment
is holy, and just, and good.
14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I
am carnal, sold under sin.

Additional related scripture

Exodus 20:17;
Deuteronomy 5:21;
1 Kings 21:20, 25;
2 Kings 17:17;
Psalm 19:7-9;
Isaiah 40:8;
Matthew 5:18;
Luke 16:17;
Acts 20:33;
Romans 3:20;
Romans 6:14-16;
Galatians 3:10, 23;
Galatians 4:4-5;
1 Peter 1:24-25;
James 2:10;

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 7:4-6

4 So ye, my brethren, are dead also to the Law by
the body of Christ, that ye should be unto another,
even unto him that is raised up from the dead, that
we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the 3affections
of sins, which were by the law, had force in our
members, to bring forth fruit unto death,
6 But now we are delivered from the Law, he
being dead in whom we were holden, that we
should serve in newness of Spirit, and not in the
oldness of the letter.

Additional related scripture

Romans 2:29;
Romans 6:13, 21;
Romans 8:2, 12-13;
2 Corinthians 3:6;
Galatians 2:19;
Galatians 5:18-19, 23;
Philippians 3:3;
Colossians 2:13-14;
1 Peter 4:2, 6;
James 1:15;
Jude 1:16-19;

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 6:20-23

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were
freed from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things, whereof
ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is
22 But now being freed from sin, and made servants
unto God, ye have your fruit in holiness, and
the end, everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of
God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional related scriptures

Genesis 2:17;
Proverbs 10:16;
Isaiah 38:17;
Jeremiah 12:13;
Ezekiel 16:63;
John 8:32-34;
Romans 1:32;
Romans 2:7;
Romans 7:5;
1 Corinthians 15:50;
Galatians 5:1;
Galatians 6:8;
1 Peter 1:4;
2 Peter 2:19-21;

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Sunday Sermon

On the Christian Life Chapter 2b
By John Calvin

How difficult it is to perform the duty of seeking the good of our neighbour! Unless you leave off all thought of yourself and in a manner cease to be yourself, you will never accomplish it. How can you exhibit those works of charity which Paul describes unless you renounce yourself, and become wholly devoted to others? “Charity (says he, 1 Cor13:4) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked and etc. Were it the only thing required of us to seek not our own, nature would not have the least power to comply: she so inclines us to love ourselves only, that she will not easily allow us carelessly to pass by ourselves and our own interests that we may watch over the interests of others, nay, spontaneously to yield our own rights and resign it to another. But Scripture, to conduct us to this, reminds us, that whatever we obtain from the Lord is granted on the condition of our employing it for the common good of the Church, and that, therefore, the legitimate use of all our gifts is a kind and liberal communication of them with others. There cannot be a surer rule, nor a stronger exhortation to the observance of it, than when we are taught that all the endowments which we possess are divine deposits entrusted to us for the very purpose of being distributed for the good of our neighbour. But Scripture proceeds still farther when it likens these endowments to the different members of the body, (1 Cor 12:12.) No member has its function for itself, or applies it for its own private use, but transfers it to its fellow-members; nor does it derive any other advantage from it than that which it receives in common with the whole body. Thus, whatever the pious man can do, he is bound to do for his brethren, not consulting his own interest in any other way than by striving earnestly for the common edification of the Church. Let this, then, be our method of showing good-will and kindness, considering that, in regard to everything which God has bestowed upon us, and by which we can aid our neighbour, we are his stewards, and are bound to give account of our stewardship; moreover, that the only right mode of administration is that which is regulated by love. In this way, we shall not only unite the study of our neighbour’s advantage with a regard to our own, but make the latter subordinate to the former. And lest we should have omitted to perceive that this is the law for duly administering every gift which we receive from God, he of old applied that law to the minutest expressions of his own kindness. He commanded the first-fruits to be offered to him as an attestation by the people that it was impious to reap any advantage from goods not previously consecrated to him, (Exod. 22 29; Exodus 23:19.) But if the gifts of God are not sanctified to us until we have with our own hand dedicated them to the Giver, it must be a gross abuse that does not give signs of such dedication. It is in vain to contend that you cannot enrich the Lord by your offerings. Though, as the Psalmist says “Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not unto thee,” yet you can extend it “to the saints that are in the earth,” (Ps. 16:2, 3;) and therefore a comparison is drawn between sacred oblations and alms as now corresponding to the offerings under the Law.

Moreover, that we may not weary in well-doing, (as would otherwise forthwith and infallibly be the case,) we must add the other quality in the Apostle’s enumeration, “Charity suffiereth long, and is kind, is not easily provoked,” (1 Cor. 13:4.) The Lord enjoins us to do good to all without exception, though the greater part, if estimated by their own merit, are most unworthy of it. But Scripture subjoins a most excellent reason, when it tells us that we are not to look to what men in themselves deserve, but to attend to the image of God, which exists in all, and to which we owe all honour and love. But in those who are of the household of faith, the same rule is to be more carefully observed, inasmuch as that image is renewed and restored in them by the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, whoever be the man that is presented to you as needing your assistance, you have no ground for declining to give it to him. Say he is a stranger. The Lord has given him a mark which ought to be familiar to you: for which reason he forbids you to despise your own flesh, (Gal 6:10.) Say he is mean and of no consideration. The Lord points him out as one whom he has distinguished by the lustre of his own image, (Isaiah 58:7.) Say that you are bound to him by no ties of duty. The Lord has substituted him as it were into his own place, that in him you may recognize the many great obligations under which the Lord has laid you to himself. Say that he is unworthy of your least exertion on his account; but the image of God, by which he is recommended to you, is worthy of yourself and all your exertions. But if he not only merits no good, but has provoked you by injury and mischief, still this is no good reason why you should not embrace him in love, and visit him with offices of love. He has deserved very differently from me, you will say. But what has the Lord deserved? Whatever injury he has done you, when he enjoins you to forgive him, he certainly means that it should be imputed to himself. In this way only we attain to what is not to say difficult but altogether against nature, to love those that hate us, render good for evil, and blessing for cursing, remembering that we are not to reflect on the wickedness of men, but look to the image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating their faults, should by its beauty and dignity allure us to love and embrace them.

We shall thus succeed in mortifying ourselves if we fulfil all the duties of charity. Those duties, however, are not fulfilled by the mere discharge of them, though none be omitted, unless it is done from a pure feeling of love. For it may happen that one may perform every one of these offices, in so far as the external act is concerned, and be far from performing them aright. For you see some who would be thought very liberal, and yet accompany every thing they give with insult, by the haughtiness of their looks, or the violence of their words. And to such a calamitous condition have we come in this unhappy age, that the greater part of men never almost give alms without contumely. Such conduct ought not to have been tolerated even among the heathen; but from Christians something more is required than to carry cheerfulness in their looks, and give attractiveness to the discharge of their duties by courteous language. First, they should put themselves in the place of him whom they see in need of their assistance, and pity his misfortune as if they felt and bore it, so that a feeling of pity and humanity should incline them to assist him just as they would themselves. He who is thus minded will go and give assistance to his brethren, and not only not taint his acts with arrogance or upbraiding but will neither look down upon the brother to whom he does a kindness, as one who needed his help, or keep him in subjection as under obligation to him, just as we do not insult a diseased member when the rest of the body labours for its recovery, nor think it under special obligation to the other members, because it has required more exertion than it has returned. A communication of offices between members is not regarded as at all gratuitous, but rather as the payment of that which being due by the law of nature it were monstrous to deny. For this reason, he who has performed one kind of duty will not think himself thereby discharged, as is usually the case when a rich man, after contributing somewhat of his substance, delegates remaining burdens to others as if he had nothing to do with them. Every one should rather consider, that however great he is, he owes himself to his neighbours, and that the only limit to his beneficence is the failure of his means. The extent of these should regulate that of his charity.

The principal part of self-denial, that which as we have said has reference to God, let us again consider more fully. Many things have already been said with regard to it which it were superfluous to repeat; and, therefore, it will be sufficient to view it as forming us to equanimity and endurance. First, then, in seeking the convenience or tranquillity of the present life, Scripture calls us to resign ourselves, and all we have, to the disposal of the Lord, to give him up the affections of our heart, that he may tame and subdue them. We have a frenzied desire, an infinite eagerness, to pursue wealth and honour, intrigue for power, accumulate riches, and collect all those frivolities which seem conducive to luxury and splendour. On the other hand, we have a remarkable dread, a remarkable hatred of poverty, mean birth, and a humble condition, and feel the strongest desire to guard against them. Hence, in regard to those who frame their life after their own counsel, we see how restless they are in mind, how many plans they try, to what fatigues they submit, in order that they may gain what avarice or ambition desires, or, on the other hand, escape poverty and meanness. To avoid similar entanglements, the course which Christian men must follow is this: first, they must not long for, or hope for, or think of any kind of prosperity apart from the blessing of God; on it they must cast themselves, and there safely and confidently recline. For, however much the carnal mind may seem sufficient for itself when in the pursuit of honour or wealth, it depends on its own industry and zeal, or is aided by the favour of men, it is certain that all this is nothing, and that neither intellect nor labour will be of the least avail, except in so far as the Lord prospers both. On the contrary, his blessing alone makes a way through all obstacles, and brings every thing to a joyful and favourable issue. Secondly, though without this blessing we may be able to acquire some degree of fame and opulence, (as we daily see wicked men loaded with honours and riches,) yet since those on whom the curse of God lies do not enjoy the least particle of true happiness, whatever we obtain without his blessing must turn out ill. But surely men ought not to desire what adds to their misery.

Therefore, if we believe that all prosperous and desirable success depends entirely on the blessing of God, and that when it is wanting all kinds of misery and calamity await us, it follows that we should not eagerly contend for riches and honours, trusting to our own dexterity and assiduity, or leaning on the favour of men, or confiding in any empty imagination of fortune; but should always have respect to the Lord, that under his auspices we may be conducted to whatever lot he has provided for us. First, the result will be, that instead of rushing on regardless of right and wrong, by wiles and wicked arts, and with injury to our neighbours, to catch at wealth and seize upon honours, we will only follow such fortune as we may enjoy with innocence. Who can hope for the aid of the divine blessing amid fraud, rapine, and other iniquitous arts? As this blessing attends him only who thinks purely and acts uprightly, so it calls off all who long for it from sinister designs and evil actions. Secondly, a curb will be laid upon us, restraining a too eager desire of becoming rich, or an ambitious striving after honour. How can any one have the effrontery to expect that God will aid him in accomplishing desires at variance with his word? What God with his own lips pronounces cursed, never can be prosecuted with his blessing. Lastly, if our success is not equal to our wish and hope, we shall, however, be kept from impatience and detestation of our condition, whatever it be, knowing that so to feel were to murmur against God, at whose pleasure riches and poverty, contempt and honours, are dispensed. In shorts he who leans on the divine blessing in the way which has been described, will not, in the pursuit of those things which men are wont most eagerly to desire, employ wicked arts which he knows would avail him nothing; nor when any thing prosperous befalls him will he impute it to himself and his own diligence, or industry, or fortune, instead of ascribing it to God as its author. If, while the affairs of others flourish, his make little progress, or even retrograde, he will bear his humble lot with greater equanimity and moderation than any irreligious man does the moderate success which only falls short of what he wished; for he has a solace in which he can rest more tranquilly than at the very summit of wealth or power, because he considers that his affairs are ordered by the Lord in the manner most conducive to his salvation. This, we see, is the way in which David was affected, who, while he follows God and gives up himself to his guidance, declares, “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother,” (Ps. 131:1, 2.)

Nor is it in this respect only that pious minds ought to manifest this tranquillity and endurance; it must be extended to all the accidents to which this present life is liable. He alone, therefore, has properly denied himself, who has resigned himself entirely to the Lord, placing all the course of his life entirely at his disposal. Happen what may, he whose mind is thus composed will neither deem himself wretched nor murmur against God because of his lot. How necessary this disposition is will appear, if you consider the many accidents to which we are liable. Various diseases ever and anon attack us: at one time pestilence rages; at another we are involved in all the calamities of war. Frost and hail, destroying the promise of the year, cause sterility, which reduces us to penury; wife, parents, children, relatives, are carried off by death; our house is destroyed by fire. These are the events which make men curse their life, detest the day of their birth, execrate the light of heaven, even censure God, and (as they are eloquent in blasphemy) charge him with cruelty and injustice. The believer must in these things also contemplate the mercy and truly paternal indulgence of God. Accordingly, should he see his house by the removal of kindred reduced to solitude even then he will not cease to bless the Lord; his thought will be, Still the grace of the Lord, which dwells within my house, will not leave it desolate. If his crops are blasted, mildewed, or cut off by frost, or struck down by hail, and he sees famine before him, he will not however despond or murmur against God, but maintain his confidence in him; “We thy people, and sheep of thy pasture, will give thee thanks for ever,” (Ps 78:13;) he will supply me with food, even in the extreme of sterility. If he is afflicted with disease, the sharpness of the pain will not so overcome him, as to make him break out with impatience, and expostulate with God; but, recognising justice and lenity in the rod, will patiently endure. In short, whatever happens, knowing that it is ordered by the Lord, he will receive it with a placid and grateful mind, and will not contumaciously resist the government of him, at whose disposal he has placed himself and all that he has. Especially let the Christian breast eschew that foolish and most miserable consolation of the heathen, who, to strengthen their mind against adversity, imputed it to fortune, at which they deemed it absurd to feel indignant, as she was aimless and rash, and blindly wounded the good equally with the bad. On the contrary, the rule of piety is, that the hand of God is the ruler and arbiter of the fortunes of all, and, instead of rushing on with thoughtless violence, dispenses good and evil with perfect regularity.

Scriptures as used above

Exodus 22:29;
Psalm 16:2:3;
Psalm 78:13;
Psalm 131:1-2;
Isaiah 58:7;
1 Corinthians 8:4;
1 Corinthians 12:12;
I Corinthians 13:4;
Galatians 6:14;

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 6:16-19

16 Know ye not, that to whomsoever ye give
yourselves as servants to obey, his servants ye are to
whom ye obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or
of obedience unto righteousness? (a)
17 But God be thanked, that ye have been the
servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart
unto the form of the doctrine, whereunto ye were
18 Being then made free from sin, ye are made the
servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of man, because of
the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have given your
members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity, to
commit iniquity, so now give your members servants
unto righteousness in holiness.

(a) Editor’s thought - You are who you choose to serve. This is to say that God has given you a free will to either serve and seek the praise of mankind, or to seek out and serve those things of which our Heavenly Father would have us do.

Additional related scripture

Leviticus 20:7;
Leviticus 11:44-45;
John 8:32;
John 17:17-19;
Acts 7:33;
2 Timothy 1:13;
2 Timothy 2:15;
2 Timothy 3:14;
Titus 1:8-9;
2 Peter 2:19;

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 6:11-14

11 Likewise think ye also, that ye are dead to sin,
but are alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin reign therefore in your mortal
body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof:
13 Neither give ye your members, as weapons of
unrighteousness unto sin: but give yourselves unto
God, as they that are alive from the dead, and give your
members as weapons of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for
ye are not under the Law, but under grace.

Additional related scripture

Psalm 19:13;
Romans 6:2;
Romans 7:4;
Romans 8:1-5;
Galatians 2:19;
Galatians 5:16-18;
Colossians 3:5;
1 Peter 2:24;
1 Peter 4:2;
1 John 1:9;
1 John 5:17;

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 6:4-5

4 We are buried then with him by baptism into
his death, that like as Christ was raised up from the
dead to the glory of the Father, so we also should
walk in newness of life.
5 For if we be planted with him to the similitude
of his death, even so shall we be to the similitude of
his resurrection,

Additional related scripture

Jeremiah 31:34;
John 2:11;
John 5:14;
John 8:11;
1 Corinthians 6:14;
Galatians 6:15;
Ephesians 4:23;
Philippians 3:10;
Colossians 2:12;
Colossians 3:3;
Hebrews 12:1;
1 Peter 2:1;

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 5:17-21

17 For if by the offense of one, death reigned
through one, much more shall they which receive
that abundance of grace, and of that gift of that
righteousness, reign in life through one, that is, Jesus
18 Likewise then, as by the offense of one, the
fault came on all men to condemnation, so by the
justifying of one, the benefit abounded toward all men
to the justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were
made sinners, so by that obedience of that one, shall
many also be made righteous.
20 Moreover, the Law entered thereupon, that
the offense should abound: nevertheless, where sin
abounded, there grace abounded much more:
21 That as sin had reigned unto death, so might
grace also reign by righteousness unto eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional related scripture

Zechariah 12:10;
Luke 1:37;
John 12:32;
John 15:22;
Romans 6:14;
Romans 8:11;
1 Corinthians 6:14;
1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45;
Philippians 2:6-8;
1 Timothy 1:14;

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Sunday Sermon

On the Christian Life; Chapter 2a
By John Calvin

ALTHOUGH the Law of God contains a perfect rule of conduct admirably arranged, it has seemed proper to our divine Master to train his people by a more accurate method, to the rule which is enjoined in the Law; and the leading principle in the method is, that it is the duty of believers to present their “bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is their reasonable service,” (Romans 12:1) Hence he draws the exhortation: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” The great point, then, is, that we are consecrated and dedicated to God, and, therefore, should not henceforth think, speak, design, or act, without a view to his glory. What he hath made sacred cannot, without signal insult to him, be applied to profane use. But if we are not our own, but the Lord’s, it is plain both what error is to be shunned, and to what end the actions of our lives ought to be directed. We are not our own; therefore, neither is our own reason or will to rule our acts and counsels. We are not our own; therefore, let us not make it our end to seek what may be agreeable to our carnal nature. We are not our own; therefore, as far as possible, let us forget ourselves and the things that are ours. On the other hand, we are God’s; let us, therefore, live and die to him (Romans 14:8) We are God’s; therefore, let his wisdom and will preside over all our actions. We are God’s; to him, then, as the only legitimate end, let every part of our life be directed. O how great the proficiency of him who, taught that he is not his own, has withdrawn the dominion and government of himself from his own reason that he may give them to God! For as the surest source of destruction to men is to obey themselves, so the only haven of safety is to have no other will, no other wisdom, than to follow the Lord wherever he leads. Let this, then be the first step, to abandon ourselves, and devote the whole energy of our minds to the service of God. By service, I mean not only that which consists in verbal obedience, but that by which the mind, divested of its own carnal feelings, implicitly obeys the call of the Spirit of God. This transformation, (which Paul calls the renewing of the mind, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23) though it is the first entrance to life, was unknown to all the philosophers. They give the government of man to reason alone, thinking that she alone is to be listened to; in short, they assign to her the sole direction of the conduct. But Christian philosophy bids her give place, and yield complete submission to the Holy Spirit, so that the man himself no longer lives, but Christ lives and reigns in him, (Galatians 2:20)

Hence follows the other principle, that we are not to seek our own, but the Lord’s will, and act with a view to promote his glory. Great is our proficiency, when, almost forgetting ourselves, certainly postponing our own reason, we faithfully make it our study to obey God and his commandments. For when Scripture enjoins us to lay aside private regard to ourselves, it not only divests our minds of an excessive longing for wealth, or power, or human favour, but eradicates all ambition and thirst for worldly glory, and other more secret pests. The Christian ought, indeed, to be so trained and disposed as to consider, that during his whole life he has to do with God. For this reason, as he will bring all things to the disposal and estimate of God, so he will religiously direct his whole mind to him. For he who has learned to look to God in everything he does, is at the same time diverted from all vain thoughts. This is that self-denial which Christ so strongly enforces on his disciples from the very outset, (Matthew 16:24) which, as soon as it takes hold of the mind, leaves no place either, first, for pride, show, and ostentation; or, secondly, for avarice, lust, luxury, effeminacy, or other vices which are engendered by self love. On the contrary, wherever it reigns not, the foulest vices are indulged in without shame; or, if there is some appearance of virtue, it is vitiated by a depraved longing for applause. Show me, if you can, an individual who, unless he has renounced himself in obedience to the Lord’s command, is disposed to do good for its own sake. Those who have not so renounced themselves have followed virtue at least for the sake of praise. The philosophers who have contended most strongly that virtue is to be desired on her own account, were so inflated with arrogance as to make it apparent that they sought virtue for no other reason than as a ground for indulging in pride. So far, therefore, is God from being delighted with these hunters after popular applause with their swollen breasts, that he declares they have received their reward in this world, (Matthew 6:2) and that harlots and publicans are nearer the kingdom of heaven than they, (Matthew 21:31) We have not yet sufficiently explained how great and numerous are the obstacles by which a man is impeded in the pursuit of rectitude, so long as he has not renounced himself. The old saying is true, There is a world of iniquity treasured up in the human soul. Nor can you find any other remedy for this than to deny yourself, renounce your own reason, and direct your whole mind to the pursuit of those things which the Lord requires of you, and which you are to seek only because they are pleasing to Him.

In another passage, Paul gives a brief, indeed, but more distinct account of each of the parts of a well-ordered life: “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” (Titus 2:11-14) After holding forth the grace of God to animate us, and pave the way for His true worship, he removes the two greatest obstacles which stand in the way, viz., ungodliness, to which we are by nature too prone, and worldly lusts, which are of still greater extent. Under ungodliness, he includes not merely superstition, but everything at variance with the true fear of God. Worldly lusts are equivalent to the lusts of the flesh. Thus he enjoins us, in regard to both tables of the Law, to lay aside our own mind, and renounce whatever our own reason and will dictate. Then he reduces all the actions of our lives to three branches, sobriety, righteousness, and godliness. Sobriety undoubtedly denotes as well chastity and temperance as the pure and frugal use of temporal goods, and patient endurance of want. Righteousness comprehends all the duties of equity, in every one his due. Next follows godliness, which separates us from the pollutions of the world, and connects us with God in true holiness. These, when connected together by an indissoluble chain, constitute complete perfection. But as nothing is more difficult than to bid adieu to the will of the flesh, subdue, nay, abjure our lusts, devote ourselves to God and our brethren, and lead an angelic life amid the pollutions of the world, Paul, to set our minds free from all entanglements, recalls us to the hope of a blessed immortality, justly urging us to contend, because as Christ has once appeared as our Redeemer, so on his final advent he will give full effect to the salvation obtained by him. And in this way he dispels all the allurements which becloud our path, and prevent us from aspiring as we ought to heavenly glory; nay, he tells us that we must be pilgrims in the world, that we may not fail of obtaining the heavenly inheritance.

Moreover, we see by these words that self-denial has respect partly to men and partly (more especially) to God, (sec. 8–10.) For when Scripture enjoins us, in regard to our fellow men, to prefer them in honour to ourselves, and sincerely labour to promote their advantages (Romans 12:10, Philippians 2:3) he gives us commands which our mind is utterly incapable of obeying until its natural feelings are suppressed. For so blindly do we all rush in the direction of self-love, that every one thinks he has a good reason for exalting himself and despising all others in comparison. If God has bestowed on us something not to be repented of, trusting to it, we immediately become elated, and not only swell, but almost burst with pride. The vices with which we abound we both carefully conceal from others, and flatteringly represent to ourselves as minute and trivial, nay, sometimes hug them as virtues. When the same qualities which we admire in ourselves are seen in others, even though they should be superior, we, in order that we may not be forced to yield to them, maliciously lower and carp at them; in like manner, in the case of vices, not contented with severe and keen animadversion, we studiously exaggerate them. Hence the insolence with which each, as if exempted from the common lot, seeks to exalt himself above his neighbour, confidently and proudly despising others, or at least looking down upon them as his inferiors. The poor man yields to the rich, the plebeian to the noble, the servant to the master, the unlearned to the learned, and yet every one inwardly cherishes some idea of his own superiority. Thus each flattering himself, sets up a kind of kingdom in his breast; the arrogant, to satisfy themselves, pass censure on the minds and manners of other men, and when contention arises, the full venom is displayed. Many bear about with them some measure of mildness so long as all things go smoothly and lovingly with them, but how few are there who, when stung and irritated, preserve the same tenor of moderation? For this there is no other remedy than to pluck up by the roots those most noxious pests, self-love and love of victory. This the doctrine of Scripture does. For it teaches us to remember, that the endowments which God has bestowed upon us are not our own, but His free gifts, and that those who plume themselves upon them betray their ingratitude. “Who maketh thee to differ,” saith Paul, “and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) Then by a diligent examination of our faults let us keep ourselves humble. Thus while nothing will remain to swell our pride, there will be much to subdue it. Again, we are enjoined, whenever we behold the gifts of God in others, so to reverence and respect the gifts, as also to honour those in whom they reside. God having been pleased to bestow honour upon them, it would ill become us to deprive them of it. Then we are told to overlook their faults, not, indeed, to encourage by flattering them, but not because of them to insult those whom we ought to regard with honour and good will. In this way, with regard to all with whom we have intercourse, our behaviour will be not only moderate and modest, but courteous and friendly. The only way by which you can ever attain to true meekness, is to have your heart imbued with a humble opinion of yourself and respect for others.

Scriptures as used above

Matthew 6:2;
Matthew 16:24;
Matthew 21:31;
Romans 12:1-2, 10;
1 Corinthians 4:7;
Galatians 2:20;
Ephesians 4:23;
Philippians 2:3;
Titus 2:11-14;

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 5:6, 8-11

6 For Christ, when we were yet of no strength,
at his time died for the ungodly.
8 But God setteth out his love towards us, seeing
that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his
blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled
to God by the death of his Son, much more being
reconciled, we shall be saved by his life,
11 And not only so, but we also rejoice in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have
now received the atonement.

Additional related scripture

Psalm 22:7-8, 15-18;
Psalm 41:7, 9;
Isaiah 53:5;
John 3:16;
John 14:19;
John 15:13;
Romans 4:25;
Romans 8:32;
2 Corinthians 5:18;
Galatians 4:9;
Ephesians 2:13;
1 Thessalonians 1:10;
Hebrews 9:15;
1 Peter 2:24;
1 Peter 3:18;

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 5:3-4

Amen Me!

3 Neither that only, but also we rejoice in
tribulations, knowing that tribulation bringeth
forth patience.
4 And patience experience, and experience hope.

Additional related scripture

Deuteronomy 4:29-31;
1 Samuel 26:24;
2 Samuel 22:1;
Matthew 5:11-12;
Matthew 13:22-23;
John 16:33;
Acts 7:10;
Romans 12:12;
2 Corinthians 1:4;
James 1:1-3, 12;
Revelation 2:10;

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 5:2, 5

2 By whom also through faith we have had
this access into this grace wherein we stand, and
rejoice under the hope of the glory of God.
5 And hope maketh not ashamed, because the
love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy
Ghost, which is given unto us.

Additonal related scripture

Job 11:18;  
Psalm 16:9
Psalm 31:24;
Jeremiah 17:17;
Lamentations 3:24;
Acts 2:4;
Romans 8:24-25, 38-39;
2 Corinthians 1:22;
Galatians 5:5;
Ephesians 2:18;
Ephesians 3:12;
Philippians 1:20;
1 John 3:3;

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Daily Meditaiton - Romans 4:16, 20-21

16 Therefore it is by faith, that it might come by
grace, and the promise might be sure to all the seed,
not to that only which is of the Law: but also to that
which is of the faith of Abraham who is the father
of us all,
20 Neither did he doubt of the promise of God
through unbelief, but was strengthened in the faith,
and gave glory to God,
21 Being fully assured that he which had promised,
was also able to do it. (a)

(a) Editor’s thought - The key here is that we believe in God through our faith in Him. We have never seen God physically, but we KNOW, through faith that He IS!

Additional related Scripture

Isaiah 51:2;
Luke 10:24;
Acts 26:18;
Romans 1:17;
1 Corinthians 2:9;
2 Corinthians 4:18;
2 Corinthians 5:7;
Galatians 3:11, 22;
Galatians 5:6;
Ephesians 2:8;
Hebrews 10:38;
Hebrews 11:1, 3, 19;

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 3:23-25

23 For there is no difference: for all have sinned,
and are deprived of the glory of God,
24 And are justified freely by his grace, through
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a reconciliation (a)
through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness,
by the forgiveness of the sins that are passed,

Editor’s note and thought - Reconciliation - sunelauno soon-el-ow'-no - to drive together, i.e. (figuratively) exhort, set at one again. Source Strong’s Concordance.

It is interesting to note the Greek translation. In particular the idea of “set at one again” for what good is man who cannot be one with his God? Also the concept of “to drive together” makes sense when viewed in the above context. God, by the sacrifice of His Son Christ Jesus, has given us a vehicle, if you will, wherein we can once again be driven towards him and made whole, in His righteousness. I am reminded here of a lyric in the Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

“God and sinners reconciled” indeed we are brought back to His vision for us.

Additional related study scripture

Leviticus 16:15;
Isaiah 59:12;
Isaiah 64:6;
Acts 14:16;
Acts 17:30;
Romans 10:12;
Galatians 3:22;
Ephesians 2:8;
Colossians 1:20;
Hebrews 9:12;

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Sunday Sermon

Editor’s Note - Scriptures that are referenced to from the below sermon can be found in their entirety below, and that all are taken from the Geneva Bible translation.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion - Chapter One
By John Calvin

Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distil to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us (see Calvin on John 4:10), that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.

On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also —He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white. Nay, the bodily sense may furnish a still stronger illustration of the extent to which we are deluded in estimating the powers of the mind. If, at mid-day, we either look down to the ground, or on the surrounding objects which lie open to our view, we think ourselves endued with a very strong and piercing eyesight; but when we look up to the sun, and gaze at it unveiled, the sight which did excellently well for the earth is instantly so dazzled and confounded by the refulgence, as to oblige us to confess that our acuteness in discerning terrestrial objects is mere dimness when applied to the sun. Thus too, it happens in estimating our spiritual qualities. So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence. So far are those qualities in us, which seem most perfect, from corresponding to the divine purity.

Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God. When we see those who previously stood firm and secure so quaking with terror, that the fear of death takes hold of them, nay, they are, in a manner, swallowed up and annihilated, the inference to be drawn is that men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God. Frequent examples of this consternation occur both in the Book of Judges and the Prophetical Writings; so much so, that it was a common expression among the people of God, “We shall die, for we have seen the Lord.” Hence the Book of Job, also, in humbling men under a conviction of their folly, feebleness, and pollution, always derives its chief argument from descriptions of the Divine wisdom, virtue, and purity. Nor without cause: for we see Abraham the readier to acknowledge himself but dust and ashes the nearer he approaches to behold the glory of the Lord, and Elijah unable to wait with unveiled face for His approach; so dreadful is the sight. And what can man do, man who is but rottenness and a worm, when even the Cherubim themselves must veil their faces in very terror? To this, undoubtedly, the Prophet Isaiah refers, when he says (Isaiah 24:23), “The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign;” i.e., when he shall exhibit his refulgence, and give a nearer view of it, the brightest objects will, in comparison, be covered with darkness.

But though the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves are bound together by a mutual tie, due arrangement requires that we treat of the former in the first place, and then descend to the latter.

John 4:10
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou
knewest that gift of God, and who it is that saith
to thee, Give me drink, thou wouldest have asked of
him, and he would have given thee water of life.

Isaiah 24:23
Then the moon shall be abashed, and the sun
ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount
Zion and in Jerusalem: and glory shall be before his
ancient men.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Daily Meditation - Romans 3:9-10, 19-20

9 What then? are we more excellent? No, in no
wise: for we have already proved, that all, both Jews
and Gentiles are under sin,
10 As it is written, There is none righteous no
not one.
19 Now we know that whatsoever the law saith,
it saith it to them which are under the law, that every
mouth may be stopped, and all the world be subject
to the judgment of God.
20 Therefore by the works of the Law shall no
flesh be justified in his sight: for by the Law cometh
the knowledge of sin.

For additional related scripture click or copy/paste on the provided link below

Job 5:16;
Psalm 14:1-3;
Psalm 53:1-3;
Isaiah 45:23;
Ecclesiastes 7:20;
John 10:34;
Romans 10:9;
Romans 14:11;
Galatians 2:16;
Galatians 3:22;
Philippians 2:10;
Hebrews 10:26-31;


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