LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stray Sheep

Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,
(1 Timothy 1:6 – ESV)

These certain persons stray from teaching those qualities that issue from good doctrine, they go from a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith into vain discussions, silly distractions, and such. They are straying from a love for the truth, and led by their desire to be teaching so-called deep truths. Paul is telling Timothy that he is down in the depths and that he has been given the deep truths, and that if others are trying to go “deeper’ they are leading people astray.

Looking at 1 Timothy 1:4,6,7 we see that the evil that the enemy sought to introduce, with regard to doctrine, had a twofold character; fables of human imagination, and the introduction of the law into Christianity. The first he dismisses as human folly, but the second he explains in verses 8-13, because the law does have its proper use. The law is to bring us to Christ.

In 2 Timothy 2:25-26, Paul appears to speak of believers who have been led astray through false teaching. Satan thus strives to hold people captive to do his will by deceiving them to believe what is false and misleading. If nothing else, this text emphasizes how crucial sound doctrine is. Elders must rebuke but eventually may need to remove those who lead others astray.

True love is never served by compromising the truth. There is no greater expression of love for another than the willingness to make painful and unpopular decisions for the sake of bringing an errant brother into the light. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13 – ESV). Lay down his life for his friend, willing to be wounded because of the backlash, waiting for God to vindicate the position and the truth of the friendship. Long term compassion for them rather than short term comfort for you.

Paul is saying, “Timothy, some of the sheep have wandered away, and you have to go get them and bring them back. You may die in the short term, but they live in the long term. You have to go and pick up the strays, even if they bite you at first.”

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The more vile Christ made Himself for us

(Thomas Brooks, "Apples of Gold" 1660)

"Let the thoughts of a crucified Christ," says one, "be
never out of your mind, let them be food and drink
unto you, let them be your sweetness and consolation,
your honey and your desire, your reading and your

Ah! remember this:
His wounds were deep,
His burden weighty,
His cup bitter,
His suffering painful,
His agony and torment above conception, beyond expression.

That blessed head of His--was crowned with thorns.

Those eyes of His, which were purer than the sun
--were put out by the darkness of death.

Those ears of His which now hear nothing but hallelujahs
--were filled with the blasphemies of the multitude.

That blessed beautiful face of His, which was fairer than
the sons of men--was spit on by beastly filthy wretches.

That gracious mouth and tongue, which spoke as never
any man spoke--was slandered and accused of blasphemy.

Those hands of His, which healed the sick, which gave
out pardons, which swayed a scepter in heaven--were
nailed to the cross.

Those feet, which brought the glad tidings of peace and
salvation into the world--were also nailed to the cross.

All these great and sad things, did Jesus Christ suffer for
His people! Oh! The more vile Christ made Himself
for us--the more dear He ought to be unto us.

Take a pilgrimage in thought, to Gethsemane
and Calvary! Gaze upon His sufferings! He knew
all the sorrows that await Him--the shame, the
suffering, the anguish--but He takes the bitter
cup, and, with His heart set on the salvation
of His people--with His heart set on you--the
blessed Savior drains it to the very dregs!

See Him on Calvary . . .
unpitied by the crowd;
deserted by His disciples;
forsaken by His Father;
the Lamb led to the slaughter;
and all for you!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thrice-Fold Conversions Psalm 51:13b

“… [S]inners shall be converted unto [T]hee.”

God is interested in the full conversion of sinners, and not in their partial conversion. The writer hopes to assist his readers in understanding this truth. He believes this study will clear up many difficulties, however it will not appeal to the growth-minded “soul-winners” or their number-loving pastors.
Let a question now be asked. If, through the “constant dripping” of a spouse or the constant visits of a pastor, a person begins attending church on Sunday instead of spending Sunday in their normal manner… has this person been converted? One may say “no”, but this writer would disagree with that answer. The newly church-attending person has in fact been converted…bodily, but not eternally.
What if a person readily admits that “Jesus” was a good man, but not the Son of God- yet through discussion comes to acknowledge that “Jesus” is the Christ and the Son of God? Is that person converted? Yes, he has been intellectually converted, but not eternally.

What about the “hero-worshipping” types? They come to see the works, miracles, and love of Christ, and confess a deep respect for Him. Is this person converted? Yes, they have been converted in their affections for Christ, but not eternally.
The obvious (or maybe not so obvious) problem with the above conversions is that they never endure. A truly Holy Spirit converted person is converted fully and forever. They have been converted in the intellect, in the affections, and in their bodies or actions. Have you, my reader, been converted? How about “your converts”? Do you care about the veracity of their conversion, or are you more concerned with the number of your converts?

Go to the Scriptures now and read Hebrews 6:4-6 with the above in mind.
Both writer and reader have seen many people come and go. The question may be asked, “Why have they departed? What has happened to so and so? They started out so well, but now they are gone. Why?” Now you know.
The 1/3 conversion is not a true conversion; nor is the 2/3 conversion true. The only true conversion is a 3/3 conversion, or stated differently - the only true conversion is that of the whole person; and only the sovereign God, Himself, can do that. With God it is either all or nothing.

Buried in Christ,
St. Loder

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Which Is The Greater Weight?

I am contemplating what happened at Gethsemane. So when I talk about my suffering or what ever trials I may have in my life, it's my Saviour's suffering on my behalf that I am more aware of than any adversity I may be experiencing. I am also aware that because of the Saviour's unique suffering for me on the cross, I can derive indescribable comfort from Him. And what I am finding is that God can put a new song in my heart that's ultimately for His glory and praise.

I read this today in a book by C. J. Mahaney ...

"In your own times of severe distress, which are you more aware of - your suffering or your salvation? What the Puritan Thomas Watson recognized will always be true for us: "Your sufferings are not so great as your sins: Put these two in the balance, and see which weighs heaviest." We can rejoice in our salvation even amid great affliction when we recognize how much worse we deserve because of our sins."

So tell me now which is the greater weight you would want to bear?

Resting in Him

Saturday, October 27, 2007

God's Love In Christ

by Mark Pierson

'As I live' says the Lord God,'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'

A loving God calling out to rebellious ancient Israel. From this verse we can gain so much insight into the Heart of Almighty God. Truely God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. He hates sin and its consequences upon the human race. His desire is that lost men and women would look unto Him and be saved. He is the One Who said:" There is no other God besides Me , A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me".

He pleads with the lost to "Turn,turn from your evil way!" You can sense the love and compassion of His Heart in the question, " For why should you die, O house of Israel?".

Indeed, God IS love. He is not willing that any should perish,but that all would come to repentance.

But,God's love cost Him dearly. " For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...".

Yes, He gave that One with Whom He shared His glory before the world was. He sent that One Whom He loved before the foundation of the world. No human can fathom the width and length and depth and height of the Father's love for His Son. The Father sent that One Who was the very center and focus of His infinite love. He sent that One Who alone is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person. He sent that One Who alone loved Him enough to be able to say,"I have come to do thy will, O God".

Yes, God's love cost Him dearly. Yes, What happened to the Son was pre-determined in eternity past. Still, the Son must endure and the Father must watch. The Son has taken upon Himself the sins of a lost world. He is beaten with a whip, ripping flesh from His bones. He is punched in the face, so much so that He is no longer recognizable. They mock Him, spit at Him and pound a crown of thorns onto His head.(He is the One Through Whom the world was created). But, the truth be known, all of this, and the cross that lay ahead was the Father's doing. He was carrying out His plan of having His Son pay the price for the sins of mankind. His plan was carried out by the hands of wicked men. God,you see, was in complete control.

There, on the ground lay the assembled cross. One can imagine the Son, out of love for His Father, out of love for mankind, walking over to the cross unforced. That love motivates Him to lie down on that cross unassisted. No one need hold Him down as the nails are driven in. Then that cross, bearing the sinless, sin-bearing Son of God, is picked up and thrown into an awaiting post-hole. His body bounces back and forth while suspended from those nails. There He hung, bearing our sins and the Father's wrath upon those sins. At one point the Father turns His head from the Son. Our sins are THAT ugly in His sight.

Then, after hours of agony, out of the Son's mouth come those wonderful words," It is finished". Man's sins are now paid for. The Father's wrath upon those sins has been spent in its entirety. Now, with His sin-bearing mission complete, Jesus yields up His spirit. THE way to approach God is now opened.

Oh, what Christ accomplished on that day! Now sinners, those slaves of sin, have deliverance from that slavery. Those coming to Him no longer need fear judgement, there is now forgivness of sins. Now repentance and remission of sins can be preached in His name to all nations. For, you see, three days later He rose again. The Father had accepted His sacrifice. The Son has conquered sin and death. God has provided the perfect way of salvation. It truely is finished!"

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"...John 3:16.

Jesus now invites, yea, He commands, people to come unto Him - those who labor to be right with God, and are heavy laden with guilt over their sin - and He will give them rest. His instruction for us is to take His yoke upon us, so that He has control over our lives, so that He can steer our lives in the direction He would have us go. He would have us learn of Him, how He wants us to live.Yes, turn from your evil ways, and come to Him. Look only to Him and be saved.


Better Than the Bible?

Well according to the comments of some 2000 plus people, the drama skit below seems to have a greater effect on the lives of Godtube viewers. I first heard of this video from a forward e-mail to my wife... I then, decided to go to Godtube myself to see what the response of the masses was. Positive comments abounded to the extent that people were looking for spiritual strength and encouragement from this skit. It was staggering how lauded w/ praise this video has been,yet how riddled in ambiguity it really is. Many said they were moved emotionally, and often went back to the video for spiritual fortitude when despair set in. My question is, how would I (if I were a non-believer) be able to extrapolate the Gospel out of this skit? In all honesty I loathe this video...to me , it serves only to undermine scripture, sating entertainment starved "christian" youth because they are too lazy to pick up Holy Writ and read it for all is worth ...it is a horrid depiction of the Gospel. What think ye?


Friday, October 26, 2007

Doctrine Discerns

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith
(1 Timothy 1:5 – ESV)

They say “doctrine divides”, well I like to say it better, doctrine discerns. The Word of God discerns (Hebrews 4:12), its teachings discern, not our feelings as foremost or other qualities, but the Bible and its teachings, and we line up and mature and grow in our discernment as we grow in God’s Word, and then we can discern more accurately (Philippians 1:9-11).

That is why we have some people, who know the Word of God in truth, these people can instantly know if some things are wrong, because they see something that doesn’t line up with biblical teaching. It is not those who get a spooky feeling about it, but those who have renewed their mind and been trained over time to discern. It isn’t their discern-o-meter, or some overtly mystical thing, but that their biblically informed conscience is working well. Yes, it can start out like a “check this out further”, or “check” in our spirit, but our goal should be to go from the “check” or “something doesn’t seem right” experience to the “I know this isn’t right because” experience, and this can happen as we get to know true doctrine more clearly over time.

It is okay, and actually it is very good if we sense something isn’t quite right, and we can’t quite put a finger on it, and so we go and check it according to the Bible (Acts 17:11). It is a right thing to do to test things (1 Thessalonians 5:21), but we want to grow up in God’s Word so much that we know it so well that we can test things quicker and more accurately and we can put a finger on it immediately. So the test isn’t if something seems pure, good, or sincere, but if it matches correct doctrine. A love for the truth, that is what Paul was teaching Timothy, and that was what the false teachers were and always are straying from.

Not that these things are the measure of good doctrine, but that Paul was wanting Timothy to teach good doctrine, and so the love, etc. would be in accordance with godliness. Purity, conscience, and sincerity are not the arbiters of truth. True doctrine will lead to a love that is truthfully pure hearted, has a truthfully good conscience, and a truthfully sincere faith, a true faith grounded in truth. One can be loving, pure in devotion, have a seemingly clean conscience, and be sincere, but still be wrong. Paul isn’t saying that these qualities are what make up good and true doctrine. Paul is saying to stick to true doctrine, as he has taught, and then you will be loving out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

It is not that good doctrine issues from these qualities but good doctrine will issue out these, true love issuing from truth. Ask yourself; do a truly pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith come from us or from God, from being grounded in His truth or from our own efforts? Yes, we want sincere faith, a good conscience, and a pure heart, which will result in true godly love, and these are acquired through God Himself, and He relays these through the renewing of our minds by the truths of the Gospel, by true and right doctrines. We must learn to discern.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Loving Doctrine

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith
(1 Timothy 1:5 – ESV)

Right teaching MUST be under-girded by right goals. The love Paul is speaking to Timothy of is a love that issues from the right source. We aren’t all the way there yet, but this is where we are to be going toward, and those other things, the myths and endless genealogies (1 Timothy 1:4) and the different doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3) lead us the wrong way, bad doctrine makes for bad practice. These things must be in the proper order; it is not that being good in practice means we necessarily have good doctrine (it can be a shadow for a while) but that right doctrine held rightly will lead to right practice.

We need to see clearly what Paul is saying to Timothy here. He starts in verse 3 by charging him to focus on good doctrine, and tells Timothy in verse 4 to stay away from those myths and such that aren’t a good stewardship of the faith. Then here in verse 5 he says that love is the target, but that it issues from certain things, and these things are the result of good doctrine.

The foundation is faith (vs.4) and the end result is love. Correct stewardship of the faith, correct doctrine (vs.3), will lead to correct and true love. Those qualities, a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, are the wellspring of the love Paul speaks of, and they issue from a correct understanding and faith in true doctrine. And what Paul had taught Timothy was correct doctrine, which is what we need, and we don’t need new things Paul didn’t teach.

The charge is good doctrine, that is the first thing, not that if we find our way to these qualities, or that if we come to these ends, that our doctrine is okay, but that we need our doctrine to line up rightly and these qualities will be okay. Paul tells Timothy why he needs to be concerned with correct doctrine, so that these other qualities will be right. True doctrine will result in a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith that will make for true love. If someone or something looks like true love, but it doesn’t come from true doctrine, if they don’t have true doctrine they don’t have true love, no matter how it looks or works.

The aim of the charge is love, but not any old type of love, but love that issues from these qualities and that love is made by doctrine. If someone seemingly has these qualities, but not true doctrine, it isn’t true love that issues forth. The charge is about right doctrine, and the aim of having right doctrine is having the right love, which issues from these qualities, which have been formed by the stewardship of faith, correct doctrine.

Again lets get the order right, so that we can have discernment, and so we don’t fall for a counterfeit. Good doctrine, the doctrine of the Apostles, the doctrines Paul taught in his epistles, it leads to a truthful state, one that has a pure heart, etc. and from this comes true love. Paul makes the connection between doctrine and godly love clear in this passage. We can see people do all sorts of good things, and they are good as far as helping humanity, but if these people organizations, religions etc. do not have the right doctrine then that love is only born out of common grace, not out of godly love, and not out of the stewardship of true, saving faith.

A Muslim or a Mormon can have a pure heart toward their god, a good conscience, and be sincere and love out of those things, but it still wouldn’t be a true, godly love because it isn’t done from true doctrine. Paul is saying to stick to true doctrine, as he has taught, and then you will be loving out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stay in the Corner

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,
(1 Timothy 1:3 – ESV)

Paul was admonishing Timothy to stay in Ephesus and to stay with the scriptures. Paul had already talked to Timothy personally about it, now he puts it in writing. The importance of doctrine cannot be overestimated. Just because it seems that false doctrine is pervasive and truth is scarce and no one is listening or learning doesn’t mean it is time to leave.

Certain persons were overthrowing the faith of many, and it is important that true shepherds and true believers contend for the faith, fight the wolves, correct, rebuke, admonish and exhort one another, rooting out those little pet doctrines that have ingrained themselves into individual lives and spread out unawares to others in the congregation.

What would be the “different doctrine” Paul was warning about? It would be anything not echoed by the New Testament writers, or logically derived from New Testament concepts, something that wasn’t related to the Gospel. Trying to reinvigorate OT types and shadows as offering some sort of new blessing is speculation at best.

Paul’s concern was not primarily that Timothy himself would begin to teach wrong doctrine. His concern was that Timothy would allow others to spread false doctrine. He had to stand firm against difficult people. No wonder he might have felt like leaving Ephesus. He wasn’t to present doctrine as an option; he was to command it like a military officer.

Timothy was to continue in the doctrine as Paul had taught; something new wasn’t something true (2 Corinthians 11:4,12-15 / Galatians 1:6-9). This applies to us just as much today as it did back then. Of course even old doctrines can be new to our ears. We do need to teach the old doctrines in ways that engage our lives today, but they aren’t new truths.

The old paths laid out for us in the bible have all we need for faith and practice. People who are looking for excitement and who are into novelty and those who are overly emotional want to say that to stick with the scriptures is to stay in a rut. Yet it would be a colossal mistake to underestimate what is being said here by Paul and in the New Testament. Paul is saying that there is absolute, unchangeable, spiritual truth, and that the Apostles were preaching it, and that they had a corner on it! We aren’t in a rut; we had best stay stuck right there in Truth Corner.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Assurance of Salvation - 12 Step Program, My Own AA - Assurance from the Almighty

Throughout Christendom there are many denominations, groups and teachers that proclaim that we can lose our salvation. Some of them use the term OSAS Once Saved Always Saved against us but I prefer the term OSS, Once Saved . . . Saved. I apologize for my attempt at humour for such a serious subject. Actually, I prefer the term Eternal Security.

The believer needs to rest upon the theological and scriptural foundation that we are now in a life-union with the Lord Jesus Christ which establishes and gives us full assurance of our salvation. It is on this foundation that we are able to reckon upon our eternal security in Christ Jesus. Until the believer is grounded in the scriptural truths of the substitution and union with Jesus Christ, he will never be prepared for the more demanding biblical principle of identification with Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection and ultimately assencion. The believer is now in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus.

The believer who does not realize this truth that he is absolutely eternally secure in Christ will never be able to trust Him for the greater truths of freedom from sin and growth. The believer who begins as a sappling and gets no nourishment from the roots of clear biblical teaching will remain a sappling. Unfortunately the believer who is a sappling and is not resting in Christ and secure in his salvation attempts to move forward in growth based on experience and blessings and they never grow by resting and reckoning on the fact that Christ is our source.

So here is my 12 Step AA Program. Twelve biblical truths that will grant you assurance of your salvation from the Almighty. You can never lose your salvation.

1. Because in the eternal, absolute sure purposes of God, you are a 'vessel of mercy' and will finally be 'conformed to the image of His Son.' - Rom.9:23; 8:29

2. Because Gods' infinate power is no longer hindered by your sins, but can wholly keep you safe, for the Blood of Christ still removes your guilt. - 1 John2:2

3. Because God's love for you, supremely expressed at Calvary, can now be manifested 'much more' and so accomplish His every desire for you. -Romans 5:8-10

4. Because of His delight in the Son, God can never reject the prayer of His Son asking Him to keep 'them which Thou hast given Me.' - John 17:9,11

5. Because the death of His Son, having a value equivalent to the punishment demanded for all your sins, has paid also for sins you now commit. - Romans 8:1,34

6. Because by the resurrection of His Son God has broken your connection with Adam and joined you to Christ for acceptance and life. - Colossians 2:13; Romans 6:13

7. Because, although your sin could hurl you into hell, Christ as your advocate defends you. - Hebrews 9:24,26

8. Because Christ 'ever liveth to make intercession' for you, Satan has no power to unsave you. - Hebrews 7:25

9. Because the Holy Spirit has taken over your body as His personal and permanent home. - John 14:16

10. Because the Holy Spirit has planted in you the very life of God, making God your real Father. - John 1:13; Colossians 3:3

11. Because the Holy Spirit has now united you with Christ and you are a very part of Himself. - 1 Corinthians 12:13

12. Because the Holy Spirit in you is the seal that your salvation is a finished transaction. - Ephesians 4:30

13. One final one in order to make it a Bakers Dozen. What God starts He finishes. - Philippians 1:6

Even though your present sins cannot unsave you, remember there are other Heavenly Father penalties you can bring upon yourself, the least of which is chastisement. We ofteb forget that aspect of our christian walk. Further, "to accept and teach that a Blood-bought child of God Can fall from grace is to assault the very nature, character and sovereign purpose of God as well as His justice and His love. Such teaching as this is an assault on the very nature of God. The scriptures teach we are partakers of the divine nature. It is an attack on His faithfulness and his truthfulness and His pledge to maintain His promises to you and me.

So fellow believer, if you are mired in the mud of doubting your salvation. If you are a sappling attempting to find life in the rain, the sun or the breeze that floats by. Quit now and rest in truth that flows from the roots.

"Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." - Colossians 2:7

While Waiting For James Lush to Post

I thought you might like to read some Richard Sibbes...



Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blessed are the merciful

Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

The merciful are those whose hearts have been so changed and affected by the Holy Spirit that they have a love for others and concern for their suffering. They are aware of their own great need for divine mercy and that they have been given mercy by God, so they are sensitive to other people who need mercy. Compassion flows in the hearts of Christians for those that suffer even if the suffering is caused by sinful, self-destructive behavior.

Note that Christians are blessed for being merciful rather than being blessed if they are merciful. Man cannot save himself by works and it is clear that being merciful results from God’s grace and not self-effort. Like the beatitudes preceding this one, being merciful is a description of Christian character. It is a picture of what Christians look like and how they act and live their lives. They show mercy and hate the suffering that flows from the consequences of sin. Anyone who is not merciful, and does not show the attributes of these beatitudes should repent and fly to the throne of grace and place their faith in Jesus Christ and they will receive mercy, forgiveness sins, and eternal life. With the changed heart that results from salvation, they will become merciful where they once were indifferent. Jesus Christ saves sinners and makes them new creatures in Christ.

Praise God that their ultimate mercy will come when the new heavens and new earth are revealed and all suffering will be over.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Soli Deo Gloria

I am not a student of Latin (though I should like to pick it up in the next decade or two?). Notwithstanding, I do like this particular Latin phrase, "Soli Deo Gloria" which literally translates into something like "By itself God's Glory". I like it because the more I mature in the Lord the more poignant and real this phrase becomes - the more abundant my spiritual life becomes the clearer my vision of what these words capture: a truth so profound and nourishing that we rightly tremble before what they reveal.

We would probably translate the phrase (so that it flowed nicely in English) as "God's glory alone" and typically we would use the phrase to describe that theological opinion that only God and God alone is worthy of glory, and bound up in that same thought would be that God is not only the only one worthy of glory, but that He is -all- worthy of it.

No one can seriously meditate upon their own sinful state and the magnificent deliverance that God has wrought for the sinner without touching upon how this glorifies God - I stagger beneath the magnitude of it, my little words can't cast themselves out far enough to paint it. God is so entirely worthy of glory that it is the darkest sin to rob Him, however minutely, of glory.

I am convinced that it is utterly impossible to love God and stand aloof from a profound and jealous love of God's glory. One may well have affection for God if they paint God out to be some kind cosmic grandfather, but as one begins to fellowship with God Almighty in the Spirit through study of scripture, through living obedience, and all the drawing near that that entails - one is struck not only by God's glory, but by the "rightness" and beauty of that glory.

Christ said, if you love me you will keep my commandments. I think no truer words have ever been spoken. I find that as I draw near to the Lord by setting my mind, heart, and soul fully upon Him; by surrendering myself in every circumstance, and being "judgment-day honest" about all my sin - and perhaps especially as I genuinely trust Him with my whole life and each moment in it - I find that I am drawn into a profound (though veiled) awareness of His matchless, infinite worth.

It is one thing to be intellectually persuaded that God not only deserves all glory, but that the greatest crime in creation would be to fail to give God that glory - I mean sure, what conservative Christian wouldn't assent to that? But it is altogether a different thing when this is not some truth that we defend from our head, but rather something deep in our soul that resonates with a sense of utter "rightness" when anything reflects God's glory so that it is magnified, as it rightly ought to be.

When zeal for God becomes more than our persuasion, more than our present argument, more than the methodology we follow, more than the opinion of those whom we admire, more than an idea we understand - and instead becomes zeal for God Himself - such that we see our insignificance, and his infinite worth in the same glance, and we explode in joy at the rightness of that, wishing we might could be less than nothing in order to magnify God's glory. The greatest crime against creation is that on account of sin it no longer reflects (clearly) the glory of God.

If creation could speak it would weep over this loss.

Loving God is not merely some "action" we do - it is the inevitable result of drawing near to God. There are a whole lotta young reformers out their who like to sign their email SDG, or Soli Deo Gloria, who have a "head full" and that's good, but who have yet to get a "heart full" because their religion is still more of a pursuit of knowledge than a pursuit of God.

When a person begins to draw near, they begin to burn for God's glory. If you burn for God's glory, you will do a far better job of obeying Him, than if you simply assent to God's glory.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Mark asked me to post this on Blue Collar, it is the importance of Unity in the Body....

"The second part of Satan's program [the first being the hindering of the plan of God in salvation], is once a person does come to believe in Jesus Christ, he wants to prevent him from taking in the pure milk of the Word -- he wants to turn him aside from the simple commitment to following Christ and being obedient to His Word [2 Cor. 11:3,4] ... His [Paul's] concern for the Corinthians, as those who have come to believe in Jesus Christ, is that they might be turned aside from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ by paying attention to false teaching, to the corrupted gospel that was being promoted by false teachers. They need to be alert and aware ... This is the concern that is on Paul's mind as he addresses the Romans [Rom. 16:17,18].

Puritan John Trapp
"Unity without verity [truth] is no better than conspiracy" (cited in The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations, p. 304).

A.W. Tozer
"The constantly recurring question must be: What shall we unite with and from what shall we separate? The question of coexistence does not enter here, but the question of union and fellowship does. The wheat grows in the same field as the tares, but shall the two cross-pollinate? The sheep graze near the goats, but shall they seek to interbreed? The unjust and the just enjoy the same rain and sunshine, but shall they forget their deep moral differences and intermarry? ... The Spirit-illuminated church will have none of this" (The Best of A.W. Tozer, p. 72).

C.H. Spurgeon
"On all hands we hear cries for unity in this and unity in that; but in our mind the main need of this age is not compromise but conscientiousness, 'First pure, then peaceable.' It is easy to cry 'A confederacy,' but that union that is not based on the truth of God is rather a conspiracy than a communion. Charity by all means: but honesty also. Love of course, but love to God as well as love to men, and love of truth as well as love of union. It is exceedingly difficult in these times to preserve one's fidelity before God and one's fraternity among men. Should not the former be preferred to the latter if both cannot be maintained? We think so" (The Sword and Trowel, April 1887, p. 196, as cited in C.H. Spurgeon and the Modern Church, by R.J. Sheehan, p. 22).

J.N. Darby
"Separation from evil is the necessary first principle of communion with Him ... Separation from evil is His principle of unity" (Separation of Evil: God's Principle of Unity, as cited in Biblical Separation, by Ernest Pickering, p. 116).

J. Gresham Machen
"Again, men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book almost from beginning to end ... It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of the truth" (What Is Christianity, as cited in Biblical Separation, by Ernest Pickering, p. 97).

John Whitcomb Jr.
"Diversity and division is infinitely more precious than a satanic unity. The problem God's people are facing today: Satan wants unity in what? -- in error. God would infinitely prefer division because of truth. Do you know what Jesus said in Matthew 10? He said, 'I have come not to bring peace, not to bring unity, but to bring division, to set a son against his father, a daughter against her mother, so that people within their own households will be enemies of each other.' That is what Jesus said he came to do ... God's smashing of satanic ecumenical unity was an incredible blessing [Genesis 11: the Tower of Babel] ... The potential for satanic depravity is infinite, as long as what continues? -- a unity in error -- organized blasphemy. Measure this friends. Grasp it. Satan will, in his brief hour, at the end of this world, be given his opportunity to demonstrate what total unity is like in the human race, when every person will have a mark on the forehead or right hand, and will walk lockstep under incredible blasphemy ...

"You say, 'We want unity.' Oh, really? What kind of unity? 'We want all the churches to get together.' Oh, really? You mean in error, in confusion, in heresy? That is, dear friends, the ecumenical movement of our hour, in which all the great denominations and all the great church leaders are becoming more and more unified. In what? -- in compromise and theological error; and this is the ultimate horror" (from Human Races, a message delivered at Indian Hills Community Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, Fall of 1984).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Become a Deader You

…depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
(1 Timothy 6:5 – ESV)

The problem with feel good theology or the prosperity gospel or the temporal blessing agenda or the be obedient and you won’t suffer crowd is that within those systems peace, joy and fulfillment are thought to be found in the same places the culture is looking for it, money, success, position, possessions, etc. Oh they may not seem to say it, or they sprinkle a little self righteous holiness on top, or they deny it when confronted, but think about it, isn’t going after those things exactly what is going on?

The false gospels promote God and godliness as the means to happiness, and happiness is defined the same way the world defines it, as having all you want, and perhaps enough to give out some to others, so we don’t seem so self centered, as if this excuses the heart behind it all. If we are promoting this sort of false gospel, we are in effect saying that we have nothing different to offer than the world, than other systems of thought and other religions; we just have a better way to get it, or we believe that it is sanctified if we do. We are the head and not the tail after all, aren’t we? Yeah, that’s just what Jesus would want us saying isn’t it? Ridiculous.

Christianity isn’t some way to become a better you or to live your best life now. Christianity is Christ, and to live for Him now, and to trust in Him to justify and sanctify you, not in your own best efforts. It is to be conformed to His image, to glorify Him not because we are at the top of the class, but because we have Him at the top of our list no matter what class we find ourselves in. To the Christian the way of suffering is the way of true victory, as we embrace our call to become like our Master.

Yes we can desire healthy bodies, happy homes, successful careers, solid relationships, and many manifold blessings here on earth. It is not wrong to want to be successful in what you are called to do. But our call is first and foremost to Christ. The problem is when these other things become our primary motivation, for we can strive for these things without striving to be godly, it’s exactly what the world is doing, striving for those same things, only we add God to the mix. Then we gain things and think this means we are gaining godliness, supposing that gain is godliness (1 Timothy 6:5 – KJV), when nothing could be further from the truth.

Friend don’t put God on your agenda, get on God’s agenda, and let me tell you something, His agenda may not be for you to have a good life according to the word’s standards, or even your own supposedly godly standard. Are you prepared to follow Christ no matter the cost? It is wrong to think that being godly is a means to getting what we want, unless what we want is to be more like Jesus. To use God as a means to an end, and make no mistake, that is what is going on with the false gospel, to do that is putting things out of order. It is selfish, me centered thinking, and Christians aren’t me or man centered, they are God focused. Now they aren’t perfectly God focused, but their desire is to be more so. It isn’t about more stuff, but more God in their lives. Are you a Christian, or have you believed a false gospel?

What profit it a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul (Matthew 16:26)? Of course they would answer that they have already given their soul to Jesus but they are deceived. They gave Him their soul in name only, their heart still cries for the treasures of this world, not for the One who created it.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Spiritually dead?

If you do not believe that being "spiritually dead" means that man is in absolute need of God's hand for total regeneration, what do you think Jesus meant when He said, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead." (Luke 9:60a)

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Rotten Apples ... then Blame God

This morning I got up real early and went for my morning coffee to read and do my daily devotional reading. Lately my wife comes with me to share etc. but when she doesn't after I have had my coffee I go down to the river and park the car and sit there in silence and solitude. I am finding that God speaks to us in the silence. As some of you may know from my blog, I have been doing alot of reading and study on the sovereignty of God and this morning I read through the book of Jonah again in a different version. Yesterday I picked up a new ESV bible. Its a great literal version just like KJV, NASB etc. So this morning I'm reading through Jonah and the following verses popped out:

"But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea ....." - 1:4a

"So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah." - 1:8

"And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah." - 1:17

"And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land" - 2:10

"Now the LORD appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah" - 4:6

"God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered." - 4:7

"When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind ...." - 4:8a

I don't know about you but those verse truly and certainly speak about the sovereignty of God. Now take a second and note that God is sovereign over the winds or in other word the weather. He's sovereign over the lot and yes even lottery tickets. He's sovereign over the animal kindgom. Notice he spoke to the fish. I have no idea what "fish talk" is like but God speaks to the animals. God is in charge of vegetation. He appointed a plant to grow. He also speaks to the lowly worm. In this case God appointed a worm to attack the plant. I don't know about you but I found that exciting this morning. God is in charge of the worms. Not only is He sovereign over worms but He has a purpose for them and a plan for them.

So then if God is sovereign over the lowly worm and has a purpose for them, not excluding bait for fishing, can we not all find comfort and security in the fact that God is sovereign over our lives too and that His plan is being and will be fulfilled. So if you are getting some worms in your apple orchard or if you should bite into a nice juicy apple and find a worm, then sit back and contemplate on the sovereignty of God.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The truth about repentance

Friday, October 12, 2007

Brief Theological Definitions: Monergism

I thought it might be fun to define some commonly used theological terms. My goal is to give as uncomplicated a definition as possible such that my children can understand what the term means.

The word Monergism could be used to describe the conversion of the Apostle Paul.

Paul was thoroughly entrenched in Pharisaic doctrine as a Jew, and absolutely zealous for the law. He rejected Christ outright and went so far as to persecute Christians to the death. Paul was the very definition of an anti-Christ. It was in the pursuit of his anti-Christian agenda that Paul was met on the Damascus road.

Paul was not on the road looking for Christ, rather he was on the road determined to destroy Christianity. Paul did not seek Christ first, rather Christ sought Paul. Paul did not "figure out" on his own that Jesus was the Christ, rather Jesus revealed Himself to Paul plainly.

Paul did not receive instruction randomly or by chance, rather Christ instructed Annanias to go directly to Paul and to open his eyes, thereafter Paul was in fellowship with those whom God directed to go to Paul.

We see in Paul's conversion the practical outworking of what we call Monergism: the idea that it was God at work in us as the Author and as the Finisher of the faith by which we were saved. Monergism means we receive divine favor not because we generate it by making the right decisions or doing the right things, but rather because God has determined to show favor to us while we were yet sinners, that is, in spite of our being entirely undeserving of it.

Monergism is most visible in our theology when we answer the question: how does God save a sinner?

The synergist believes that God is wooing everybody, but that only some of us will be moved to respond to that wooing. Those of us who do respond, in doing so give God the opportunity to save us. At the end of the day, those who respond to the gospel do so because they made better choices than those who did not, that is, their choice to have faith was the key that opened God's shackles and allowed God to finally save them. The God of the synergist is wringing his hands in heaven hoping that some of us will hear about him, and hearing about him will then choose him so that he can possibly save them, and hopefully - if they are faithful - keep them saved.

The monergist believes that God is gracious to all men, and offers salvation freely to all men, but that this offer is being made to a race of people who are spiritually dead in their trespasses and sin, and by virtue of this death are entirely unable to respond to the gospel. The monergist believes that the gospel is a call upon all men, but that all men are equally dead and unable to respond to it. God's call is not to be confused with the gospel - which is given to all and rejected by all. God's call comes when we are yet sinners and dead in our sin, but it is not a call given to all, lest all would be saved. Make no mistake - the gospel is offered to all, and all reject it being dead spiritually in their sins. That is what being dead in sin means - it means being utterly unable to receive the gospel. Yet God has determined to show mercy on whom He will show mercy - and so from among these who are dead in their trespasses God elects some to show mercy to, and this mercy comes in the form of life - first and foremost as the ability to savingly receive the gospel. That is what scripture means when it says you were dead in your sins but God made you alive (c.f. Ephesians 2). Those upon whom God shows mercy upon (such as the Apostle Paul), God draws to Himself through Christ (c.f. John 6:44), and those whom are drawn come one and all - no one is lost.

Monergism means that God actively chooses whom He will save, and as many as God elects to save - these are saved.

Synergism means that God passively and reactively saves as many as make the right decision. Where God is sovereign in Monergism, in synergism he is bound by man's sovereign decision to produce salvation for as many as merit it by their own free choice. In synergism God is the means by which a man can save himself. God may be responsible for 99.999999999999999% of the salvation process, but it is the 0.00000000000000001% that man adds to the mix that ultimately makes man sovereign in his own election, and in fact, makes election an empty word.

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Happy Birthday, Ashley!

Yep, today my beautiful daughter turns twenty.

I remember that so well. I rushed Karen off to the hospital at a little after 11 PM on Sunday, the 11th. Then, at 5:07 PM the following day, a curly brown-haired 7 pound, 14 ounce bundle of joy came into the world.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

See To It

And say to Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord."

(Colossians 4:17 – ESV)

Your understanding of the supposed size and scope of your role doesn’t determine the level of involvement by God in your life, work, and ministry. It matters to Him. It is all one and the same to Him, and He can be fully engaged with you as well as everyone else on the planet for every single second you and they are alive, all at the same time. He is God after all, that’s what He does. He is fully involved in your personal situation. He will see to it that He holds up His end; He exhorts all of us to see to it that we fulfill our assignments.

Paul showed that God has concern for your individual assignment. See to it means it never really ends; it is an ongoing commitment and process. Our lives are to be a living fulfillment of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To fulfill it means you are to keep making it full (2 Timothy 4:5). He is fully involved with you; He wants you to be fully involved with Him. Whatever it is, God will see you through it, and you will see God through it.

We see here that the people in the church at Colossae were to help Archippus. The church is to help each of its people fulfill their ministry in the Lord. Ministry isn’t simply full time preaching or teaching, or missionary work. The scriptures are not just for the so-called clergy but for the laymen as well. We are all ministers and missionaries of the gospel, full time, with our lives; whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Christ is worth knowing to the fullest extent possible, and may we always be striving to learn and love Him more, even as we come to understand His love for us all the more.

Wherever you are and whatever God has called you to, see to it.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Courtesy Note

For those of you trying to reach me through my AIM email Account, well, it's dead again. Please try going through my email on my profile page. Thank you.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Frozen Chosen

You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…
(John 15:16)

Some things to think about…

Whose choice is it? Is it God’s choice or man’s choice who is going to be saved?

If Jesus died for all the sins of all the people ever, doesn’t this include unbelief?

Why, then, aren't all people going to heaven?

Is it God who ensures or man who secures? Is it more loving for God to let everyone of fallen man try and secure his own salvation making it dependent on his own choice, or is it more loving that God ensures that some will be saved, making sure they make the choice?

Did God send His Son to die, so that He could be loved, or did God send His Son to die because He loved?

Does God rescue people that do not love Him, or does He wait till they love Him to rescue them?

Is it “I’m so glad I chose you”, or “I’m so humbled you chose me?” Was it something in me that caused Him to choose me, no, or something in me that caused me to choose Him, no…does it ultimately have to do with us, or was it God’s plan all along? If you believe in Christ, that is wonderful, now give God the glory He is due, for He saved you…

Charles Spurgeon, 19th century preacher, spoke of the gospel call being universal, but the atonement being definite, and it was in an article over at Pyromaniacs the other day, and it is worth looking at if you want some more understanding on this issue…also check out this recent post by our friend Craver VII...


Monday, October 08, 2007

Lordship salvation redefined

Salvation begins at conversion and is completed at glorification. Conversion consists of faith and repentance and occurs after God’s effectual call and regeneration. Justification occurs immediately after conversion and is followed immediately by adoption. Sanctification then begins and continues for the rest of the believers’ life. Lordship, discipleship, obedience, and conformity to Christ happen during the process of sanctification. Therefore, lordship salvation is actually better defined as lordship sanctification.

While man cooperates and participates in sanctification, it is a process that is powered by God’s grace through the work of the Holy Spirit. This power enables the redeemed to willingly desire and seek after the things of God. It is never a perfect work by the Holy Spirit, but it is also never a total failure. Certainly there are some exceptions, like people dying immediately after conversion, such as the thief on the cross. However, to believe that a redeemed Christian can choose not to be conformed in any way to Christ is to insult the work, power and person of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 makes it clear that all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. A person that does not follow is not being led and is not a son of God. Such a person is not saved. Lordship sanctification is just another way of saying that Christians are led by the Spirit of God and respond to the grace that is conforming them to the image of Christ. Lordship sanctification is powered by God.

Yet some people claim this is nothing but an attempt to be justified by works. I think this belief flows from an erroneous view that human decision apart from God’s grace secures salvation and sanctification also is accomplished by man and man alone. This view does not take into account the grace and faith that connects justification and sanctification. Grace changes a sinner’s heart, which enables him to willingly respond in faith to Jesus Christ. With his new heart, attitude, and desires a redeemed sinner is led by grace to do works of sanctification. This is lordship sanctification and it shows the same kind of Christian character that Jesus describes in the beatitudes. These deeds flow from a believers new character rather than an attempt to secure a new character.

A person who performs works of sanctification out of a motive to be made right with God and thus be justified is not saved. That would be a failed attempt at lordship justification. A person that claims to be a believer but has not been changed by the grace of regeneration is also not saved. That would be a false professor as described in the parable of the four soils.

Praise God that his grace powers justification and sanctification. He who began a good work will carry it through to completion. Grace not only saves sinners from the penalty of sin, it saves them from the power of sin. Have you experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you being sanctified by grace?

What do you think? Is this what Piper is referring to in the video just before this post?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

How Do You Know You Are Saved?

Here's a re post of a video that created quite a controversy on my old blog. I find that when sanctification and obedience become optional in circles of neo-evangelicalism, it is nothing less than the display of spiritual decadence that we are currently in...is it a wonder that the Lord refuses to send revival the American "church", seeing that she will not repent of her harlotry?

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Friday, October 05, 2007

The Good News of God's Grace

…the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them
(Acts 16:10)

First the bad news…

We can't make it to heaven on our own; no one is good enough to meet God’s perfect standard. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned, and all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Did you know that’s what He requires, perfection (Matthew 5:48)? It’s true. Now come on, admit it, you aren’t perfect, you may be better than a lot of people, but are you as good as God? Left to ourselves, we all will die without God, and that is bad news, indeed. However, that isn’t the end of the story.

Now for the good news…

God had a plan all along; he knew what he was doing. He would show his mercy and grace to a people he would call out for himself. He would send his own son, to die for those people’s sins, and give those called out people the righteousness they needed, the righteousness of his own son, Jesus. Jesus executed that plan; he came to earth and lived a perfectly righteous life, and allowed himself to die for our sins. He was a righteous man, the only righteous man ever, paying the penalty due us. His death meant that God would grant us mercy. His life meant God would give us grace. You see the mercy is God forgiving our sins because Jesus paid the penalty with his death, and the grace is God giving us a righteous standing based on Christ’s perfect life. God accounts our sin to Jesus’ account, and Jesus’ righteousness to our account. This great exchange is explained to us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – he who knew no sin (that’s Jesus) became sin for us (he paid the penalty) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (through his perfect life we meet God’s standard). God had spoken of this plan before Jesus was even born (Isaiah 53:6), and he proved that this sacrifice and this way was what he planned all along by raising Jesus from the dead (Romans 1:4 / 4:25).

Now we obviously didn't deserve it, but that’s grace, my friend (1 John 4:9-10). God draws us to Him in a way that he knows we will respond to if we are one of his, and God gives this gift to us freely. All God asks us to do is believe (John 3:16 / Romans 10:9). When we accept Jesus sacrificial death to forgive our sins, the bible calls this being justified by faith (Romans 5:1), and God counts Christ’s righteousness as our own. But there’s more, because God also leads us into a more holy life, where we learn to truly seek after and please God, and God ensures that we will make it to heaven. Because God didn’t leave us to ourselves, when we die we will be with God, and that is good news, indeed. If you will believe, you’ll make it to heaven, and that’s the end of the story.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007


I suppose this being my initial post to Blue Collar I should post something truly deep and spiritual but it's 6:30 in the morning and I am just getting ready for work and I just wanted to say a quick hello and say thanks for letting me share my walk and my words with you. My better half and trust me on this one, she truly is the better half is Cristina known as Baptist Girl and she has shared how much this blog has meant to her. So thanks to Mark for granting this privilege. I hope that what I share will bring glory to Him and yet even that comment has a bit of a spiritual twist to it. He already has all the Glory that there is and we can't add one iota to it and yet somehow we as finite little creatures can bring him glory. Its a real conundrum that I leave with the Lord.

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created

James who is "Earnestly Contending"

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Some of my brothers in the blogosphere know that I’ve been struggling recently with issues of sanctification, specifically trying to get rid of a darkness that has plagued my heart for a little while. Initially, I nursed the dark thoughts – not recognizing them (or not wanting to) for what they are.

When it dawned on me that such darkness is not befitting a child of Light, I sought to be rid of it. But when I asked God to pluck the darkness from my heart before it ever became those thoughts again in my mind, it didn’t happen. My thoughts returned, even though I began to be repulsed by them. And yet, they came. And persisted.

I was struggling all the harder trying to plead with God to remove them from me, even to the point of tears begging Him not to leave me to myself. It appeared to me like an endless battle. I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t sanctifying me when it seemed it would be a good and right thing to clear my head and heart of such evil. Why wasn’t God removing these thoughts from me?

In church, the pastor expounded a bit on forgiveness. In discussing a passage in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, where Paul was advising the church of Corinth how to deal with a fallen brother, our pastor spoke about how we can only forgive when we understand the depth of how we have been forgiven. The depth and severity of our own rebellion against God, our own hatred and enmity toward His Son, our selfish prideful ways in desiring to be our own god, and everything – absolutely every “little” thing – for which we’ve been forgiven.

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
- Matthew 6:14-15

It occurred to me as our pastor was speaking that some of the root of my dark thoughts were directly linked to a lack of forgiveness on my part toward another. And because of that, these thoughts could not leave me.

It also occurred to me that I was not forgiving because I live without taking stock either of the enormity of the sin for which I myself have been forgiven or the cost beyond measure of what it took to forgive me.

If I recognize the depth and breadth and width of my sin toward God and the absolutely fall-on-your-face breathtaking cost for His forgiveness of my sin, then and only then will I be able to extend the same mercy and forgive others – no matter what I see or hear. No matter the offense. Because ultimately, all the offense or wrong directed my way is sin against God.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,”
- Psalm 51:4a

If I look closer at that root of unforgiveness in myself, I see it is nourished by pride. And that is not of God. My pride feeding my unforgiveness ultimately bringing forth flowers of evil, dark thoughts.

Confessing the thoughts isn’t enough. I must forgive. But I am only able – by God’s grace – to forgive if I truly and deeply understand the depth of my own sin against God and His Son. Only when I recognize how much I’ve been forgiven and the cost to do so, can I let go of the anger, the root of bitterness, the ugliness, and the pain that keeps me in bondage.

It’s not an overnight work. But as the Lord continues to open my eyes and my heart to His truth, I can see that great depth of my rebellion. How very undeserving I am of any of His mercy and grace. How callous and prideful I can be.

When Mel Gibson made his movie “The Passion of the Christ,” he was interviewed and asked the question, “Who killed Jesus?,” to which he replied (in essence): “I did. That is why I used my hands for the scene when the nails were driven into His hands.”

Do I see myself this way? Do I remember that every single prideful thought I have or ever had pierced His brow and drove blood down into His eyes? Do I take stock of the fact that those “little” infractions of my youth ripped Jesus’ back open wide with the Roman cat-o-nine-tails? Do I weigh the price of my foolish young adulthood against the slow walk through Jerusalem and to Golgotha, carrying a cross so heavy under a body so broken it could not make the destination without help? And do I remember that the nails that tore the flesh and sinew of the One I love did so to bear the price of my own sin against God?

Can I remember His forgiveness every day – so that I too may learn to truly forgive?

When I learn this, I believe I shall no longer carry the burden of my dark thoughts.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
- Matthew 11:30