The Ugly Truth: I Love Will

School Shootings on Valentine’s Day? What is happening to this world?

There is nothing new, really, under the sun. As it was in the days of Noah so it is still today. Everyone is in love with the same person. This is the crux of the matter.

At our church women’s prayer time a common weekly request is for patience in the context of children and family.  We all know what it means. The battle of the wills. I want and he wants and what I want must win.

We love our Will.

Precious Will

We tend it and care for it. Like Gollum and the precious ring, we treasure our will and if anyone tries to touch it we lash out at them with fangs and sharp teeth. We want what we want and nobody. Ever. Forever. will take that from us.

Yet at the same time we pray the Lord’s prayer: thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.

There is a big problem in the world, and it starts with us. With our deepest love. Did you give chocolates to someone today for Valentine’s Day? Did you give a card? Did you go out on a date?

Perhaps you wanted to show your love to someone, or perhaps you had no one “really” to show love to today. No special someone. So you ate a bunch of chocolate yourself and watched a movie you’ve been wanting to watch.

We do this because of Will. We love him. He is our precious. If no one else appreciates him, we do. I will be treated special today, if I have to do it myself.

Impatience

I’ve been praying lately, trying to get to the bottom of this impatience with my children. Why can’t I be patient? Why can’t I be loving and sacrificial and serve them, like Christ did?  He took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist and got to business showing his love by serving.

I’ve been praying that God would show me what it is that is wrong in my spirit to make me battle to the death to win. I found the answer. It’s a little thing that holds me in sway. It’s Will. Will won’t let me lose.

I have a pampered Will. And now I don’t know what to do. So I pray, and I look at the Bible.

A few hours after Christ washed the disciples’ feet, he was in the garden praying, “not my will but thine be done.” There’s where his Will is! It is set there in front of the throne of the Father in heaven. It’s resting there.

Putting Will to Rest

I think I know what Will will try to do if I try to put ’em to rest at the foot of the Throne. He’s gonna wiggle and toss and turn, like a 3 year old at nap time. But putting our Will down is an inherent part of sanctification. Because a Will that does not rest there will get into more trouble than a 3 year old without a nap.

We’ve gotta put ’em down.

But there is hope. Where else? In Philippians 2:

“it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

What a wonderful thing to know. God’s Spirit works in us shaping that Will to rest at the foot of Jesus. And as the Will rests, bending to the the Father’s will, the body works out God’s good pleasure.

A verse earlier in Philippians it says:

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…”

How do we obey? How do we work out our own salvation? We gotta put Will to rest.  Look a bit earlier in Philippians. Surrounded in the context of Christ’s great humble example of loving, giving and serving we see these words:

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  This is what it looks like when Will is resting before the Throne.

School Shootings

What does love of Will have to do with the school shootings? People are broken and hurting, they are “without God and without hope.” And certainly, in this country, they have all known a Christian or two.  Somehow those relationships were not enough to stay the violent anger growing inside them. They loved their Will and chose to give it free reign, lashing out at the world that hurt them.

The Bible is very clear that the Church is the key to world peace. “Wars and rumors of war” and all that is ugly will be and is the characteristic of the last days. However, at the same time, there has always been a direct relationship between the Church getting right with God and the neighborhood getting cleaned up. Think about all the great RE-vivals. It’s when Christians repented.

GOD’S PEOPLE are supposed to turn. God’s people are supposed to humble themselves…(wait–didn’t we just see the connection between humbling ourselves and putting Will to rest? Yes! Philippians 2!)

…God’s people seeking God’s face with confession and repentance…this is the If/Then of social healing.

You know what I’m saying. You’ve seen hypocrites in your very church. You know the hypocrisy that hides in your heart, that few people see. It starts with Will.

We love Will. But the Will we should love more is God’s Will. That’s the one that’ll bring peace to your neighborhood, your city, your nation.

If we want to see school shootings go down, rise up o Church arise. If we want to see abortions and social disasters relieved, rise up o Church arise. Put aside Will.*

Suggestions for Putting Will to Rest:
  1. Humble Yourself:  Confess that you love your Will more than you love God’s Will. Name specific times that you disregarded clear Scripture in favor of your Will. Dwell on the justice of God, where your stubborn preference proves your guilt in his sight; dwell on the great kindness of God to forgive you in Christ’s name. Thank the Lord that Christ lived with a submissive will on your behalf, and that by faith this obedience has become yours.
  2. Pray: that God would put you in a situation where you are forced to let go of Will for the sake of God’s good plans. Ask him to test you until you learn to do this naturally, regularly, and faithfully.
  3. Seek God’s Face: Do a word study in Scripture on “the will of God;” make a list of stories or parables in the Gospels where Christ teaches or models the submission of the will.
  4. Confess: Make a list of people with whom your Will contests. Ask for forgiveness for the ungodly practice of loving your Will more than loving God’s way. Pray for opportunities to give-in and serve them instead of fighting to win.
  5. Turn from Wickedness: If you do not recognize your disobedience as wicked, you have not truly repented and turned and sought God’s face. Idolatry is putting something in place of God. If you are protecting Will, you are worshipping Will.
  6. Repent: To ensure you do not forget, but truly are moving into a new way of life, post one or all of the verses above on your bathroom mirror or car dashboard to memorize and to meditate on daily. Date this every Monday to keep track of your faithfulness.

My prayer is that you will be able to do this. I am going to try, and I feel already that it’s not going to be fun. But it may bring peace. It will bring peace.

______

What about you? Any ways you can suggest for us to put Will to Rest at the Throne of God?

*note: Through this posting it should be clear that Will is our selfish desires to do what is good for us primarily. I am not referring to the WILL of the “freewill” debate.

R.C., Me and the Maverick Molecule

When I met R. C. Sproul, I was spanking new to this theology thing.
We were at Westminster Seminary in California, it must have been 1996, and had just finished an evening seminar on the Providence of God. I came after work to join Fikret for R.C.’s class on God’s rule over the universe, and how it kept human responsibility and culpability but did not allow for free will.
 
In the lecture he explained to us his famous analogy of the Maverick Molecule. But I still was not convinced.
 
After class I waited for my turn to speak with him and told him this sovereignty thing doesn’t work.  “Look at Ezekiel 33:11 and 2 Peter 3:9,” I said.
 
He explained how we have to look at context. Ezekiel was speaking to Israel…and he went into detail about that passage. Then he said the “everyone” of 2 Peter 3:9 has to mean something that coincides with the rest of Scripture.
 
I stopped him mid-thought. I said, “You can’t twist words to make the Bible say what you want it to say.”
 
The people around us gasped. I really had no idea who R.C. Sproul was. All I thought was “this guy” is disregarding those verses for the sake of his idea.
 

“I’M NOT TWISTING WORDS….”

…I can still hear his raised-voice (but humored) appeal echoing through the years.
 

Quite the contrary. That arrogant snipe I was got struck with the non-existence of the maverick molecule. And R.C.’s teaching got lodged into our hearts and minds.

 

We soaked up tape series after tape series, graduating to video tapes. Eventually we got the DVDs and kept learning more and more of the God R.C. had been trying to tell us about. The God who IS. And HOW he is.

 

They talk about ships that pass in the night. One moment in time forever changing me and my husband. It was a slow change, but this was the moment. For me at least. Lucky Fikret had full-time of this amazing thing at Westminster Seminary with other teachers like Peter Jones and John Frame and Robert Godfrey.

Me, I had R.C. Sproul. Until I met John Gerstner a few years ago.

Ships that pass in the night, but he gave some precious cargo. For that–for his being ready and willing to be used by God for dispersing that cargo–I am eternally grateful to God.

I am not the only one who is writing today about R.C. I am reading over and over of other people whose stories were like mine.  The way he chose to live his life really changed the world.

Benjamin Franklin once said,

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.”

R.C. Sproul’s life and death reminds me of this. His principle of working as long as it is today is summarized in these loaded words:

“I’ll retire when they pull my cold dead fingers off my Bible.”

May we all be as diligent. May we all invest ourselves in such a way. Ten-fold. So when the Lord returns he says to us:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with little, I will put you in charge of much” (Matt 25:23).

 

Holy Pleasures that Will Not Be in Heaven.

We never think about this, probably.

Holy Pleasures that Will Not Be in Heaven.

When we think of HEAVEN we see the Lamb on the Throne, we imagine throwing our arms around Jesus and breathing a sigh of relief. We gulp, thinking about the White Throne Judgment, but know Jesus will be our advocate, standing between us and God.  We anticipate him wiping the tears from our eyes, and our getting our harps and robes.

We imagine what life will be in this new civilization. We see streets of gold, a glassy sea, a city with jeweled walls and pearled gates. We know there will be a Tree of Life stretching over the river of life. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Pure bliss. Peace. Joy. Love. No desire to hurt others, on accident or purpose. No hurt we will receive from others. Just getting along with them, being always kind, always loving, always thoughtful. Being the ME I always wish I could be but never can attain to.

We sometimes look so eagerly to heaven that we forget that earth has pleasures Heaven never will.

We never think about what treasures we will have lost.

Some things that are precious and holy on earth will be absent and seen no more in Heaven.

I’d like to remind you of these things so you treasure them & enjoy them in this short life as you wait for GLORY.


INTERPERSONAL PLEASURES

There will be no more… Making-up After a Fight.

  • When your child or friend or spouse hurts you, speaks disrespectfully, and your heart is broken. Or you get out of control and hurt one you love, and build up the courage to apologize, the coming-together in forgiveness and restoration–that will not be a part of Heaven.
  • What this means for you today is this: make the most of it. Reconcile with others. Buckle your belt and swallow your pride and make it right. That kind of sensation of forgiving and forgiveness…that kind of making-up and making things right…THAT IS NOT GOING TO BE IN HEAVEN. Do it today and get the special blessing today. For this is your only opportunity to enjoy that kind of restoration with another sinner.

There will be no… After-Church Time

  • You and your family go to church and fellowship with other believers. But you also sit with friends over coffee before or after the service and talk about life and difficulties. They tell you about their struggles, and you listen and put your arm around their back and tell them the Lord is sufficient to meet their needs. They close their eyes and tell you about their week. They moan and are burdened.
  • You listen some more and then say comforting words, Scriptural truths, words from the Bible. And then you pray for them. This kind of balm is not in Heaven. Or maybe their story is one of joy, of answered prayer. And you share your joys and burdens and prayers with them.
  • This fellowship is a taste of Heaven, but we will not commiserate with other believers and help them in their time of need. Its time is now. Enjoy the pleasure of comforting and encouraging one another while it is called TODAY.

There will be no… Socks on the Floor

  • You know it’s the little things that wear and wear and wear against us. The socks on the floor, the box of toys dumped on the bed, the clean laundry in the dirty laundry basket again. These little annoyances that make up life will be no more in Heaven.
  • The whiney kids, the hungry husband, the complaining wife. While we don’t like these things, at the same time, these are moments where we can meet the needs of another person. We can pick up the socks and toys. We can be patient where patience is due. We can do these things now, because we won’t be able to please God this way in Heaven. When we are enjoying our sweet reward, we will never need to restrain our temper and push forward into the frustration “yet again” tasks. This is your only chance for that. Do it well.

There will be no… Relief

  • Little things relieve us. Food. Water. A hug. The toilet. A shower. While Heaven is ONLY relief from the suffering of this world, a place where our tears are wiped away–as a sign of full relief–the fact of the matter is that after that entrance into Heaven there is no more relief necessary. We will have arrived at the point of peace after the storm.
  • So the little reliefs of this world–the drink of cool water after mowing the lawn, the mouthful of hamburger after a morning at the office, the sitting down on the couch with a sigh–these are things to be cherished. Because the pain will be done away with, the relief will be no longer necessary. When you drink that cool, refreshing water, consider Heaven. When you take a shower, enjoy the relief. These are passing pleasures.

There will be no more… Family

  • In Heaven, we are family with everyone. It is only about family–the same father God, the same brother Christ, the same Spirit joining us in love and peace. But our husband or wife, our sons or daughters, our mothers or fathers, our brothers and sisters and cousins, these will no longer be joined to us in that relationship. It will be better, of course. But the family unit changes in orientation. You are no longer what you were here to them. They will have finally learned how to trust in Christ to be the giver they have longed for, they will not need you as a mediator.
  • Which means, as it falls on you to be the strong one, to be the provider, to be the comforter, to be the rule-keeper, this world is where you get to raise and train those kids, comfort that spouse, honor those parents. In Heaven, those dynamics will be gone.
  • In Heaven, your son will not throw his arms around you and whisper, “I love you Mommy!” You will no longer kiss and hold your wife. This world is where you get to show and enjoy these familial affections. (Matthew 22:29-30)
  • Family in this broken world is a poor reflection of the True Family of God in Heaven. This world’s family is a foretaste. We said, “till death do us part.” The bond then will be to Christ and to each other as members of the Church. It will be better, it will be pure, it will be right. But it will not be like you have it here. So embrace one another and delight in that holy passing pleasure.

There will be no more… Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer will be Outdated

  • No doubt about it, this world is hard. But thanks be to God who has given us the joys of prayer.  “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 5:4-5).
  • The longing we have, the need for relief, the cries for help–these will be no more. We will talk with God, but it is not prayer like we have on earth.
  • The Lord’s Prayer will be invalid: His name will be hallowed, his kingdom come, his will be fully done always and without hindrance. Heaven and earth will come together under one head, Christ.
  • Our daily bread will no longer be under question as we feast with God: “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined” (Isaiah 25:6).
  • Our debts will be forgiven and no crimes will ever be committed against us so we will not forgive debts. We will not be tempted, all evil will be vanquished. The only thing of the Lord’s prayer left will be:

“Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever” (Matthew 6:13).

There will be no more… Faith

  • Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1. In Heaven, our faith will be sight. We will no longer have to hope for the promised land, no longer have to struggle with believing God for the best, no longer have to cling to his promises against all nay-sayers.
  • In Heaven all those things that have been promised will be realized. There certainly will be hope in Heaven. More promises and more surprises to take us through eternity. But no more faith, only knowledge.
  • For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away… For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:9,11)

There will be no more… Unbelievers

  • While we may feel a moment of relief considering this–no more hassles from co-workers over the existence of God, no more lawsuits over wedding cakes, no more struggles in front of abortion clinics–at the same time, in Heaven, there will be no more opportunity to share your faith with someone who has never heard of Christ. No one will turn from sin and repent because of God using what you say or do.
  • If you know the joy of telling someone about Jesus, giving them a Bible, hearing the rapture of their first experience with God–this kind of joy of the harvest will be gone in Heaven. We will have no one more to tell about Jesus.
  • And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:34/Hebrews 8:11). So enjoy this great privilege. It too is passing away.

All this means–there will be no more need for Compassion.

  • When sorrow and mourning “flee away” we will also lose the opportunity for showing compassion to those who sorrow or mourn. This world is the only chance you have for that. Use it well. Enjoy the gift of compassion. Develop it. Ease their pain.
  • I don’t know how we will feel toward those in hell. Will we see them? Perhaps (Isaiah 66:24). But will we grieve for them? No. Our sorrow will have turned to joy, and no one can take that away. Jesus said, “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).
  • All this to say, “the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their head. They shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11). The LORD promised, “I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13).
  • When the perfect has come, we will have no need anymore for the temporary, shadow-joys of this world.

 


OTHER LOST PLEASURES


There may be no… Bacon, Eggs or Milk

  • God, who is the creator of variety, of taste, of a sustaining environment, made pigs out of bacon, and created chickens to produce eggs and cows to produce milk.
  • But Death will be no more, and the wolf lies down with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6), so for us, too, pork bacon will be done away with. And eggs and milk are a result of animal reproduction, so they may be no more. The former order is passed away, and animal use for food may be part of that old order. Food, too, is up in the air. We just don’t know the dynamics of heaven. We only know that it’s called a feast, but we will not die. So we will not need food for sustenance.
  • But don’t worry. God is the inventor of color and taste. He has something greater in store. These may be a shadow of those bigger joys. Imagine that! A greater flavor than bacon! Meanwhile, enjoy the flavors of earth. These too will pass away.

There will be no more… Sun or Ocean

  • We love to see sunrises and sunsets, especially over the sea. We love to hear the pound of the surf and the sliding of the sand against itself. In the New Heavens and the New Earth these will be changed. “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:19) “and there was no longer any sea” (Rev 21:1).
  • The heat of the sun that hinders the worker, the chaos of the sea that sinks ships. These will be taken care of. There will be steady pleasure and order in Heaven. But as man we have tamed many aspects of the sea. We do not hesitate to have a family picnic on the beach. We ride the waves on boogie board or surfboard. We sail with the wind on our face. We sit with our kids on the seashore and make sandcastles. That will not be in Heaven. These too are a shadow of the joys of Heaven.
  • Certainly “joy unspeakable” will be better than making sandcastles or sailing. But these specific pleasures will be no more. Make the most of them to develop family memories and to glorify God by enjoyment of them.

There will be no more… Night.

  • Looking up at the stars. Counting them. Finding constellations. Looking through telescopes. Bonfires at night on the beach. This world is where we get to do that. It is a kindness from God. The predictable nature of the stars, which comforted and guided journeyers of long ago, is here today for us to explore. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).
  • The lessons of the stars, the glory and righteousness of God (Psalm 50:6), these will come to an end. We will no longer need them when the old order of things passes away (Revelation 21:4). So get all you can from the night and the stars while you walk this earth.

All this means–there will be no need for General Revelation.

The invitation will have been sent and accepted, the party guests will have arrived and the doors will be shut (Matthew 25:10-11, Luke 13:25-27).

  • This world, though broken, has things Heaven will NEVER have.
  • Use these opportunities in your ONE LIFE to glean the special holy pleasures this damaged world alone offers you.
  • Comfort the grieving, seek comfort from others, hold your crying child, pray for your grieving friend, go out to look at the stars and think of the God you will see face-to-face.

These are passing holy joys, passing holy pleasures.

By doing these things now you are bringing honor and glory to God who wills you to comfort others and glorify him.

This world and your one life is your only chance to participate in these unique holy deeds. They will pass away. 

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.”

(Psalm 39:4)

Is the Bible Corrupted? (What to Make of Transmission Errors)

HAS JESUS BEEN JESUS MISQUOTED?

Early church librarian, Pamphilus of Caesarea, in the mid-200s, would make copies of Scripture and “correct the manuscripts of the Bible.” Even back then, there was a godly reverence for correctly copying Scripture.

In spite of that, many documents have come to us “corrupted,” or changed in one way or another.

In fact, it is said, there are more discrepancies in the copies of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament (quote from White Horse Inn episode below). What should we make of that?

Does this mean the Bible is actually inaccurate? Does this mean the Bible is fallible and unreliable? How do we know that what we read is actually the historical truth?

In this day and age, many opponents of Christianity attack the New Testament, attempting to collapse the great foundation on which Christianity rests. They have a point. << READ ON >>

Grace & Peace to You: Early Christian Views on War & Peace


• “I serve Jesus Christ the eternal King. I will no longer serve your emperors. It is not right for a Christian to serve the armies of this world.” ~ Marcellus the Centurion, 298AD, spoken as he gave up his post in the army of Emperor Diocletian because of his faith.

• “We ourselves were well conversant with war, murder and everything evil, but all of us throughout the whole wide earth have traded in our weapons of war. We have exchanged our swords for plowshares, our spears for farm tools…now we cultivate the fear of God, justice, kindness, faith, and the expectation of the future given us through the Crucified One….The more we are persecuted and martyred, the more do others in ever increasing numbers become believers.”  ~ Justin the Martyr (100AD – 165AD)

• “Murder, considered a crime when people commit it singly, is transformed into a virtue when they do it en masse.”
~ St. Cyprian (200AD – 258AD)

• “We who formerly hated and murdered one another now live together and share the same table. We pray for our enemies and try to win those who hate us.”
~ Justin the Martyr (100AD – 165AD)

• “It is absolutely forbidden to repay evil with evil.”~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD

• “To those who ask us whence we have come or whom we have for a leader, we say that we have come in accordance with the counsels of Jesus to cut down our warlike and arrogant swords of argument into ploughshares, and we convert into sickles the spears we formerly used in fighting. For we no longer take ‘sword against a nation,’ nor do we learn ‘any more to make war,’ having become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader, instead of following the ancestral customs in which we were strangers to the covenants.”
~ Origen (185AD – 254AD)

• “Hitherto I have served you as a soldier; allow me now to become a soldier to God. Let the man who is to serve you receive your donative. I am a soldier of Christ; it is not permissible for me to fight.” ~ Martin of Tours (315AD – 397AD)

• “Christians, instead of arming themselves with swords, extend their hands in prayer.”
~ Athanasius of Alexandria (293AD – 373AD)

• The Christian poor are “an army without weapons, without war, without bloodshed, without anger, without defilement.” ~ Clement of Alexandria (150AD – 214AD)

• “I do not wish to be a ruler. I do not strive for wealth. I refuse offices connected with military command.” ~ Tatian of Assyria (died around 185AD)

plowshares2

• “Above all Christians are not allowed to correct by violence sinful wrongdoings.”
~ Clement of Alexandria (150AD – 214AD)

• “The Christian does not hurt even his enemy.”~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “None of us offers resistance when he is seized, or avenges himself for your unjust violence, although our people are numerous and plentiful…it is not lawful for us to hate, and so we please God more when we render no requital for injury…we repay your hatred with kindness.”
~ St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage (died 258AD)

• “We Christians are a peaceful race…for it is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained.”
~ Clement of Alexandria (150AD – 214AD)

• “Only without the sword can the Christian wage war: the Lord has abolished the sword.” ~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “You cannot demand military service of Christians any more than you can of priests. We do not go forth as soldiers with the Emperor even if he demands this.”
~ Origen (185AD – 254AD)

• “We who formerly treasured money and possessions more than anything else now hand over everything we have to a treasury for all and share it with everyone who needs it. We who formerly hated and murdered one another now live together and share the same table. We pray for our enemies and try to win those who hate us.”
~ Justin the Martyr (100AD – 165AD)

• “For what war should we not be fit and eager, even though unequal in numbers, we who are so willing to be slaughtered—if, according to that discipline of ours, it was not more lawful to be slain than to slay?”~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “The professions and trades of those who are going to be accepted into the community must be examined. The nature and type of each must be established… brothel, sculptors of idols, charioteer, athlete, gladiator…give it up or be rejected. A military constable must be forbidden to kill, neither may he swear; if he is not willing to follow these instructions, he must be rejected. A proconsul or magistrate who wears the purple and governs by the sword shall give it up or be rejected. Anyone taking or already baptized who wants to become a soldier shall be sent away, for he has despised God.”
~ Hippolytus (170AD – 236AD)

• “Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.” ~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• Christians “love all people, and are persecuted by all;…they are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and are respectful.”~ Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (late 2nd Century)

• “Say to those that hate and curse you, You are our brothers!” ~ Theophilus of Antioch (died around 185AD)

• “For the Gentiles, hearing from our mouth the words of God, are impressed by their beauty and greatness: then, learning that our works are not worthy of the things we say, they turn to railing, saying that it is some deceitful tale. For when they hear from us that God says: ‘No thanks will be due to you, if ye love only those who love you; but thanks will be due to you, if ye love your enemies and those that hate you’—when they hear this, they are impressed by the overplus of goodness: but when they see that we do not love, not only those who hate us, but even those who love us, they laugh at us, and the Name is blasphemed.”
~ The 2nd Epistle of Clement (140-160AD)

• “Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword? And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law?”
~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God…. They show love to their neighbors. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies…. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.”
~ Aristides (written around 137AD)

• “We Christians cannot endure to see a man being put to death, even justly.”~ Athenagoras (133AD – 190AD)

• “Learn about the incorruptible King, and know his heroes who never inflict slaughter on the peoples.” ~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “Christians appeal to those who wrong them and make them friendly to themselves; they are eager to do good to their enemies; they are mild and conciliatory.”
~ Aristides of Athens (2nd Century)

• “I recognize no empire of this present age.” ~ Speratus (martyred 180AD)

• “For when God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but he warns us against the commission of those beings which are esteemed lawful among men….Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all, but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.” ~ Lactantius, instructor of Constantine’s son (240AD – 320AD)

• “Shall we carry a flag? It is a rival to Christ.” ~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “I am a Christian. He who answers thus has declared everything at once—his country, profession, family; the believer belongs to no city on earth but to the heavenly Jerusalem.” ~ St. John Chrysostom (347AD – 407AD)

• “If anyone be a soldier or in authority, let him be taught not to oppress or to kill or to rob, or to be angry or to rage and afflict anyone. But let those rations suffice him which are given to him. But if they wish to be baptized in the Lord, let them cease from military service or from the [post of] authority, and if not let them not be received. Let a catechumen or a believer of the people, if he desire to be a soldier, either cease from his intention, or if not let him be rejected. For he hath despised God by his thought, and leaving the things of the Spirit, he hath perfected himself in the flesh and hath treated the faith with contempt.” ~ The Testament of Our Lord (4th or 5th Century AD document)

• “We have become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader.” ~ Origen (185AD – 254AD)

• “If you enroll as one of God’s people, then heaven is your country and God your lawgiver.” ~ Clement of Alexandria (150AD – 214AD)

• “God called Abraham and commanded him to go out from the country where he was living. With this call God has roused us all, and now we have left the state. We have renounced all the things the world offers…. The gods of the nations are demons.”
~ Justin the Martyr (100AD – 165AD)

• “But now inquiry is being made concerning these issues. First, can any believer enlist in the military? Second, can any soldier, even those of the rank and file or lesser grades who neither engage in pagan sacrifices nor capital punishment, be admitted into the church? No on both counts—for there is no agreement between the divine sacrament and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot serve two masters—God and Caesar…But how will a Christian engage in war (indeed, how will a Christian even engage in military service during peacetime) without the sword, which the Lord has taken away?”
~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “This is the way of life: first, thou shalt love the God who made thee, secondly, thy neighbor as thyself: and all things whatsoever thou wouldest not should happen to thee, do not thou to another. The teaching of these words is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast on behalf of those who persecute you: for what thanks will be due to you, if ye love only those who love you? Do not the Gentiles also do the same? But love ye those who hate you, and ye shall not have an enemy.”
~ The Didache, also known as The Teachings of the 12 Apostles, is an early Christian document written between 80AD – 90AD.

 

Sources:
40 Early Church Quotes

Quotes: The Early Church on War and Violence

Research on Pacifism in the Ancient Church

As a Christian, what is something that God has said (in the Bible) that you disagree with?

(Quora Question) As a Christian, what is something that God has said (in the Bible) that you disagree with?: 

My Answer:

In Song of Solomon, which can be seen partly as an allegory to the relationship of Christ and the Church (*1), it is written

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you (4:7)

We are caught, as Christians, in what is referred to as the “already/not yet” of history.

While God looks at me and sees only Christ’s righteousness (Rom 5:9, Phil 3:9, Rom 5:18, Rom 9:30, Rom 4:5, Gal 3:6-7). “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21)…

…yet I look at myself and do not see this. I feel like Paul in Romans 7:

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing….So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am!

So my greatest disagreement, because of this already/not yet, has to do with my dissatisfaction with the unholiness surrounding me, in my thoughts, in my actions, in my plans and ambitions. While God sees that I am “clothed in the righteousness of Christ,” I see the not-yet.

But this is what fuels my hope, my greatest desire. It is what propels me through this world, facing what comes. As John said—John who was the “last to go” of the apostles, who had to wait the longest of the 11 for that which was promised—

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

(*1) see This Momentary Marriage by John Piper, esp p. 127.

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Close as Your Next Phone Call: The Story of Scripture

scroll-1410168_1280STORY OF SCRIPTURE

The Word in the World

Pentateuch

For thousands of years the people of God had no full copy of God’s Word. The Israelites of the Exodus had the word of Moses, and the books he was writing. Otherwise it was hearsay. The judges had a couple more books. The kings had the books of Moses up through Samuel.

God commanded Israel that when kings would finally reign:

“…when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them (Deut 17:18-19).

During the time of the kings the historical books and the wisdom books were pulled together: Ruth, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. And the later kings required the prophetical books spoken against them. The more God spoke, it seems, the more people ignored him.

(How Did We Get the Bible We Have?) READ ON…>>

Mystic Union between Christ and the Saints

What is the Bride of Christ? We know that the Church is the bride, but WHAT is this bride? Some implications seem, almost, vulgar. But it is a concept repeatedly used in Scripture, in the Wisdom books, in the Prophets, and most emphatically from Christ himself and reiterated by the apostles. I recently came across this sermon, exactly the thing I was hunting for online. Read on to hear an amazing Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson, speak delicately and powerfully on this mystic union of Christ and his Bride.

by Thomas Watson


“My beloved is mine, and I am his.” (Song 2:16)

In this Song of Songs we see the love of Christ and his church running towards each other in a full torrent.

The text contains three general parts:
1. A symbol of affection: “My beloved.”
2. A term of appropriation: “is mine.”
3. A holy resignation: “I am his.”

Doctrine: That there is a conjugal union between Christ and believers. 

The apostle, having treated at large of marriage, winds up the whole chapter thus: “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32). What is closer than union? What sweeter? There is a twofold union with Christ:

1. A natural union. This all men have, Christ having taken their nature on him and not that of the angels (Heb. 2:16). But if there is no more than this natural union, it will give little comfort. Thousands are damned though Christ is united to their nature.

2. A sacred union. By this we are mystically united to Christ. The union with Christ is not personal. If Christ’s essence were transfused into the person of a believer, then it would follow that all that a believer does should be meritorious.

But the union between Christ and a saint is:

(a) Federal: “My beloved is mine.” God the Father gives the bride; God the Son receives the bride; God the Holy Ghost ties the knot in marriage – he knits our wills to Christ and Christ’s love to us.

(b) Effectual. Christ unites himself to his spouse by his graces and influences: “of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). Christ makes himself one with the spouse by conveying his image and stamping the impress of his own holiness upon her.

This union with Christ may well be called mystic. It is hard to describe the manner of it. It is hard to show how the soul is united to the body, and how Christ is united to the soul. But though this union is spiritual, it is real. Things in nature often work insensibly, yet really (Eccles. 11:5). We do not see the hand move on the dial, yet it moves. The sun exhales and draws up the vapours of the earth insensibly yet really. So the union between Christ and the soul, though it is imperceptible to the eye of reason, is still real (I Cor. 6:17).

Before this union with Christ there must be a separation. The heart must be separated from all other lovers, as in marriage there is a leaving of father and mother: “Forget your own people, and your father’s house.” (Psa. 45:10). So there must be a leaving of our former sins, a breaking off the old league with hell before we can be united to Christ. “Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?” (Hos. 14:8), or as it is in the Hebrew, “with sorrows.” Those sins which were looked on before as lovers, are now sorrows. There must be a divorce before a union.

The purpose of our conjugal union with Christ is twofold:

1. Co-habitation. This is one purpose of marriage, to live together: “that Christ may dwell in your hearts” (Eph. 2:17). It is not enough to pay Christ a few complimentary visits in his ordinances – hypocrites may do so – but there must be a mutual associating. We must dwell upon the thoughts of Christ: “he that abides in God” (cf. I John 3:24). Married persons should not live apart.

2. Fruit bearing: “That you may be married to another; to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.” (Rom. 7:4). The spouse bears the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (Gal. 5:22). Barrenness is a shame in Christ’s spouse.

This marriage union with Christ is the most noble and excellent union:

(a) Christ unites himself to many. In other marriages only one person is taken, but here millions are taken. Otherwise, poor souls might cry out, “Alas! Christ has married So-and-so, but what is that to me? I am left out.” No, Christ marries thousands. It is a holy and chaste polygamy. Multitudes of people do not defile this marriage bed. Any poor sinner who brings a humble, believing heart may be married to Christ.

(b) There is a closer union in this holy marriage than there can be in any other. In other marriages, two make one flesh, but Christ and the believer make one spirit: “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (I Cor. 6:17). Now as the soul is more excellent than the body, and admits of far greater joy, so this spiritual union brings in more astonishing delights and ravishments than any other marriage relationship is capable of. The joy that flows from the mystic union is unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:8).

(c) This union with Christ never ceases. “Thrice happy they whom an unbroken bond unites” (Horace). Other marriages are soon at an end. Death cuts asunder the marriage knot, but this conjugal union is eternal. You who are once Christ’s spouse shall never again be a widow: “I will betroth you to me forever” (Hosea 2:19). To speak properly, our marriage with Christ begins where other marriages end, at death.

In this life there is only the contract. The Jews had a time set between their engagement and marriage, sometimes a year or more. In this life there is only the engagement and contract; promises are made on both sides, and love passes secretly between Christ and the soul. He gives some smiles of his face, and the soul sends up her sighs and drops tears of love. But all this is only a preliminary work, and something leading up to the marriage. The glorious completing and solemnizing of the marriage is reserved for heaven. There is the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9) and the bed of glory perfumed with love where the souls of the elect shall be perpetually consoling themselves. “Then shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:17). So death merely begins our marriage with Christ.

APPLICATIONS

Application 1: If Christ is the head of the mystic body (Eph. 1:22), then this doctrine beheads the Pope, that man of sin who usurps this prerogative of being the head of the church, and so would defile Christ’s marriage bed. What blasphemy this is! Two heads are monstrous. Christ is Head, as he is Husband. There is no vice-husband, no deputy in his place. The Pope is the beast in Revelation (Rev. 13:11). To make him head of the church, what would this be but to set the head of a beast upon the body of a man?


Application 2: If there is such a conjugal union, let us test whether we are united to Christ:

1. Have we chosen Christ to set our love upon, and is this choice founded on knowledge?

2. Have we consented to the match? It is not enough that Christ is willing to have us, but are we willing to have him? God does not so force salvation upon us that we shall have Christ whether we want to or not. We must consent to have him. Many approve of Christ, but do not give their consent. And this consent must be:

(a) Pure and genuine. We consent to have him for his own worth and excellence: “You are fairer than the sons of men” (Psa. 45:2).

(b) A present consent: “now is the acceptable time” (2 Cor. 6:2). If we put Christ off with delays and excuses, perhaps he will stop coming. He will leave off wooing. “His spirit shall no longer strive,” and then, poor sinner, what will you do? When God’s wooing ends, your woes begin.

3. Have we taken Christ? Faith is the bond of the union. Christ is joined to us by his Spirit, and we are joined to him by faith. Faith ties the marriage knot.

4. Have we given ourselves up to Christ? Thus the spouse in the text says, “I am his,” as if she had said, “All I have is for the use and service of Christ.” Have we made a surrender? Have we given up our name and will to Christ? When the devil solicits by a temptation, do we say, “We are not our own, we are Christ’s; our tongues are his, we must not defile them with oaths; our bodies are his temple, we must not pollute them with sin?” If it is so, it is a sign that the Holy Ghost has produced this blessed union between Christ and us.


Application 3: Is there this mystic union? Then from that we may draw many inferences:

1. See the dignity of all true believers. They are joined in marriage with Christ. There is not only assimilation but union; they are not only like Christ but one with Christ. All the saints have this honour. When a king marries a beggar, by virtue of the union she is ennobled and made of the blood royal. As wicked men are united to the prince of darkness, and he settles hell upon them as their inheritance, so the godly are divinely united to Christ, who is King of kings, and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). By virtue of this sacred union the saints are dignified above the angels. Christ is the Lord of the angels, but not their husband.

2. See how happily all the saints are married. They are united to Christ, who is the best Husband, “the Chiefest among ten thousand” (Song 5:10). Christ is a Husband that cannot be paralleled:

(a) For tender care. The spouse cannot be as considerate of her own soul and credit as Christ is considerate of her: “He cares for you” (I Pet. 5:7). Christ has a debate with himself, consulting and projecting how to carry on the work of our salvation. He transacts all our affairs, he attends to our business as his own. Indeed, he himself is concerned in it. He brings fresh supplies to his spouse. If she wanders out of the way, he guides her. If she stumbles, he holds her by the hand. If she falls, he raises her. If she is dull, he quickens her by his Spirit. If she is perverse, he draws her with cords of love. If she is sad, he comforts her with promises.

(b) For ardent affection. No husband loves like Christ. The Lord says to the people, “I have loved you,” and they say, “In what way have you loved us?” (Mal. 1:2). But we cannot say to Christ, “In what way have you loved us?” Christ has given real demonstrations of his love to his spouse. He has sent her his Word, which is a love-letter, and he has given her his Spirit, which is a love-token. Christ loves more than any other husband:

  • Christ puts a richer robe on his bride: “For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isa. 61:10). In this robe, God looks on us as if we had not sinned. This robe is as truly ours to justify us, as it is Christ’s to bestow on us. This robe not only covers but adorns. Having on this robe, we are reputed righteous, not only as righteous as angels, but as righteous as Christ: “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • Christ gives his bride not only his golden garments but his image. He loves her into his own likeness. A husband may have a dear affection for his wife, but he cannot stamp his own image on her. If she is deformed, he may give her a veil to hide it, but he cannot put his beauty on her. But Christ imparts “the beauty of holiness” to his spouse: “Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” (Ezek. 16:14). When Christ marries a soul, he makes it fair: “You are all fair, my love” (Song 4:7). Christ never thinks he has loved his spouse enough till he can see his own face in her.
  • Christ discharges those debts which no other husband can. Our sins are the worst debts we owe. If all the angels should contribute money, they could not pay one of these debts, but Christ frees us from these. He is both a Husband and a Surety. He says to justice what Paul said concerning Onesimus, “But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account.” (Philem. 1:18).
  • Christ has suffered more for his spouse than ever any husband did for a wife. He suffered poverty and ignominy. He who crowned the heavens with stars was himself crowned with thorns. He was called a companion of sinners, so that we might be made companions of angels. He was regardless of his life; he leaped into the sea of his Father’s wrath to save his spouse from drowning.
  • Christ’s love does not end with his life. He loves his spouse for ever: “I will betroth you to me forever” (Hos. 2:19). Well may the apostle call it “a love which passes knowledge” (Eph. 3:19).

3. See how rich believers are. They have married into the crown of heaven, and by virtue of the conjugal union all Christ’s riches go to believers: “communion is founded in union.” Christ communicates his graces (John 1:16 ). As long as Christ has them, believers shall not be in want. And he communicates his privileges – justification, glorification. He settles a kingdom on his spouse as her inheritance (Heb. 12:28). This is a key to the apostle’s riddle, “as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:10). By virtue of the marriage union, the saints have an interest in all Christ’s riches.

4. See how fearful a sin it is to abuse the saints. It is an injury done to Christ, for believers are mystically one with him: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). When the body was wounded, the Head, being in heaven, cried out. In this sense, men crucify Christ afresh (Heb. 6:6), because what is done to his members is done to him. If Gideon was avenged upon those who slew his brethren, will not Christ much more be avenged on those that wrong his spouse (Judges 8:21)? Will a king tolerate having his treasure rifled, his crown thrown in the dust, his queen beheaded? Will Christ bear with the affronts and injuries done to his bride? The saints are the apple of Christ’s eye (Zech. 2:8), and let those who strike at his eye answer for it. Isa 49:26 “I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine” (Isa. 49:26).

5. See the reason why the saints so rejoice in the Word and sacrament, because here they meet with their Husband, Christ. The wife desires to be in the presence of her husband. The ordinances are the chariot in which Christ rides, the lattice through which he looks forth and shows his smiling face. Here Christ displays the banner of love (Song 2:4). The Lord’s Supper is nothing other than a pledge and earnest of that eternal communion which the saints shall have with Christ in heaven. Then he will take the spouse into his bosom. If Christ is so sweet in an ordinance, when we have only short glances and dark glimpses of him by faith, oh then, how delightful and ravishing will his presence be in heaven when we see him face to face and are for ever in his loving embraces!


Application 4: This mystic union affords much comfort to believers in several cases:

1. In the case of the disrespect and unkindness of the world: “in wrath they hate me” (Psa. 55:3). But though we live in an unkind world, we have a kind Husband: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9). What angel can tell how God the Father loves Christ? Yet the Father’s love to Christ is made the copy and pattern of Christ’s love to his spouse. This love of Christ as far exceeds all created love as the sun outshines the light of a torch. And is not this a matter of comfort? Though the world hates me, Christ still loves me.

2. In the case of weakness of grace. The believer cannot lay hold on Christ, except with a trembling hand. There is a “spirit of infirmity” on him, but oh, weak Christian, here is strong consolation: there is a conjugal union. You are the spouse of Christ, and he will bear with you as the weaker vessel. Will a husband divorce his wife because she is weak and sickly? No, he will be the more tender with her. Christ hates treachery, but he will pity infirmity. When the spouse is faint and ready to be discouraged, Christ puts his left hand under her head (Song 2:6). This is the spouse’s comfort when she is weak. Her Husband can infuse strength into her: “My God shall be my strength” (Isa. 49:5).

3. In the case of death. When believers die, they go to their Husband. Who would not be willing to cross the gulf of death that they might meet with their Husband, Christ? “I desire to loosen anchor” (Phil. 1:23), and be with Christ. What though the way is dirty? We are going to our friend. When a woman is engaged, she longs for the day of marriage. After the saints’ funeral, their marriage begins. The body is a prison to the soul. Who would not desire to exchange a prison for a marriage bed? How glad Joseph was to go out of prison to the king’s court! God is wise; he lets us meet with changes and troubles here, so that he may wean us from the world and make us long for death. When the soul is divorced from the body, it is married to Christ.

4. In the case of passing sentence at the day of judgment. There is a marriage union and, oh Christian, your Husband shall be your judge. A wife would not fear appearing at the bar if her husband was sitting as judge. What though the devil should bring in many indictments against you? Christ will expunge your sins in his blood. Could he possibly say, “I shall condemn my spouse?” Oh, what a comfort this is! The Husband is judge. Christ cannot pass sentence against his spouse without passing it against himself. For Christ and believers are one.

5. In the case of the saints’ suffering. The church of God is exposed in this life to many injuries, but she has a Husband in heaven who is mindful of her and will “turn water into wine” for her. Now it is a time of mourning with the spouse because the Bridegroom is absent (Matt. 9:15). But shortly she shall put off her mourning. Christ will wipe the tears of blood off the cheeks of his spouse: “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces” (Isa. 25:8). Christ will comfort his spouse for as much time as she has been afflicted. He will solace her with his love; he will take away the cup of trembling and give her the cup of consolation. And now she shall forget all her sorrows, being called into the banqueting house of heaven and having the banner of Christ’s love displayed over her.


Application 5: Let me press several duties upon those who have this marriage union with Christ:

1. Make use of this relationship in two cases:

(a) When the law brings in its indictments against you. The law says, “Here there are so many debts to be paid,” and it demands satisfaction. Acknowledge the debt, but turn it all over to your Husband, Christ. It is a maxim in law that the suit must not go against the wife, as long as the husband is living. Tell Satan when he accuses you, “It is true that the debt is mine, but go to my Husband, Christ; he will discharge it.” If we took this course, we might relieve ourselves of much trouble. By faith we turn over the debt to our Husband. Believers are not in a state of widowhood but of marriage. Satan will never go to Christ – he knows that justice is satisfied and the debt book cancelled – but he comes to us for the debt so that he may perplex us. We should send him to Christ and then all lawsuits would cease. This is a believer’s triumph. When he is guilty in himself, he is worthy in Christ. When he is spotted in himself, he is pure in his Head.

(b) In the case of desertion. Christ may (for reasons best known to himself) step aside for a time: “my beloved had withdrawn himself” (Song 5:6). Do not say, therefore, that Christ has gone for good. It is a fruit of jealousy in a wife, when her husband has left her a while, to think that he has gone from her for good. Every time Christ removes himself out of sight, it is wrong for us to say (like Zion), “The Lord has forsaken me” (Isa. 49:14). This is jealousy, and it is a wrong done to the love of Christ and the sweetness of this marriage relationship. Christ may forsake his spouse in regard of comfort, but he will not forsake her in regard of union. A husband may be a thousand miles distant from his wife, but he is still a husband. Christ may leave his spouse, but the marriage knot still holds.

2. Rejoice in your Husband, Christ. Has Christ honoured you by taking you into the marriage relationship and making you one with himself? This calls for joy. By virtue of the union, believers are sharers with Christ in his riches. It was a custom among the Romans, when the wife was brought home, for her to receive the keys of her husband’s house, intimating that the treasure and custody of the house was now committed to her. When Christ brings his bride home to those glorious mansions which he has gone ahead to prepare for her (John 14:2), he will hand over the keys of his treasure to her, and she shall be as rich as heaven can make her. And shall not the spouse rejoice and sing aloud upon her bed (Psa. 149:5)? Christians, let the times be ever so sad, you may rejoice in your spiritual espousals (Hab. 3:17,18). Let me tell you, it is a sin not to rejoice. You disparage your Husband, Christ. When a wife is always sighing and weeping, what will others say? “This woman has a bad husband.” Is this the fruit of Christ’s love to you, to reflect dishonour upon him? A melancholy spouse saddens Christ’s heart. I do not deny that Christians should grieve for sins of daily occurrence, but to be always weeping (as if they mourned without hope) is dishonourable to the marriage relationship. “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4). Rejoicing brings credit to your husband. Christ loves a cheerful bride, and indeed the very purpose of God’s making us sad is to make us rejoice. We sow in tears, so that we may reap in joy. The excessive sadness and contrition of the godly will make others afraid to embrace Christ. They will begin to question whether there is that satisfactory joy in religion which is claimed. Oh, you saints of God, do not forget consolation; let others see that you do not repent of your choice. It is joy that puts liveliness and activity into a Christian: “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). The soul is swiftest in duty when it is carried on the wings of joy.

3. Adorn this marriage relationship, so that you may be a crown to your husband.

(a) Wear a veil. We read of the spouse’s veil (Song 5:7). This veil is humility.

(b) Put on your jewels. These are the graces which for their lustre are compared to rows of pearl and chains of gold (Song 1:1O). These precious jewels distinguish Christ’s bride from strangers.

(c) Behave as becomes Christ’s spouse:

  • In chastity. Be chaste in your judgments; do not defile yourselves with error. Error adulterates the mind (1 Tim. 6:5). It is one of Satan’s artifices first to defile the judgment, then the conscience.
  • In sanctity. It is not for Christ’s spouse to behave like harlots. A naked breast and a wanton tongue do not become a saint. Christ’s bride must shine forth in gospel purity, so that she may make her husband fall in love with her. A woman was asked what dowry she brought her husband. She answered that she had no dowry, but she promised to keep herself chaste. So though we can bring Christ no dowry, yet he expects us to keep ourselves pure, not spotting the breasts of our virginity by contagious and scandalous sins.

4. Love your Husband, Christ (Song 2:5). Love him though he is reproached and persecuted. A wife loves her husband when in prison. To inflame your love towards Christ, consider:

(a) Nothing else is fit for you to love. If Christ is your Husband, it is not fit to have other lovers who would make Christ grow jealous.

(b) He is worthy of your love. He is of unparalleled beauty: “altogether lovely” (Song 5:16).

(c) How fervent is Christ’s love towards you! He loves you in your worst condition, he loves you in affliction. The goldsmith loves his gold in the furnace. He loves you notwithstanding your fears and blemishes. The saints’ infirmities cannot wholly remove Christ’s love from them (Jer. 3:1). Oh then, how the spouse should be endeared in her love to Christ! This will be the excellence of heaven. Our love will then be like the sun in its full strength.

[From The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson, a Puritan Paperback edition published by the Banner of Truth.]


This video sets out some of the Jewish customs related to Christ’s “Bride” references to his Church.

SOURCES:

Thanks to puritansermons.com for hosting this sermon of Thomas Watson! http://www.puritansermons.com/watson/watson3.htm

Index to Thomas Watson

A Memoir of Thomas Watson by Charles Spurgeon


 

Up and Down

Which Way is UP?

What is True?

Have you ever wondered how we can really know what is true? Why do we have the world map with America and Russia at the top and Australia at the bottom? Somehow mapmakers agreed on a North Pole at the Top world map, and that is what we are used to. This map makes me dizzy.

Maps used to be very different than they are today. Here is a 16th century map of Turkey. It’s pointing the wrong way! Up is east! The SOURCE of this map graphic has some amazing old maps to take a look at. Perspective is everything.

UP & DOWN

But aside from cartography, a related question about UP and DOWN is how it is how many people view morality and ethics.  Commonly voted “right” is right.  Many questions are out there, wondering about the world and conscience. Having no UP and no DOWN, they have to scrape together their own answers.

With the common factor that GOD MUST HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

8 Great Philosophical Questions We Will Never Solve

and

10 Big Questions

are two sites that struggle to make sense of a world with no up and down.

What is Conscience?

Conscience is an internal alarm system connected to the lifeforce of humankind that warns us when we cross a line.

While someone might say that society creates these rules, it disregards all outliers.  If society determines right and wrong, and this is passed on to next generations through child-rearing and social pressure/stigma, it still does not explain why people object to that. Why did people in Nazi Germany speak against the momentum of society? Why did their standard not match society? “I was not raised to kill people,” they might answer. And yet they want the killing to stop. Because in us we believe those standards apply to others. “So the Nazis should not kill others in cold-blood, too.”

If someone claims that truth or right/wrong is relative, they can also not say that anyone else is ever doing wrong. You could train your own kids only, to pass on the information. But imposing any sense of right or wrong upon anyone else contradicts your claim.  “But my disagreeing is social pressure/stigma.” If majority wins, any outlier should conform. Even if it is you.

Conscience warns of a consequence awaiting us.  Can we trust Conscience? What Did Einstein Say about this?

Everyone needs to know which way is UP. Some people crawl through life, switching their ups and downs all the time. But there is no peace. It is chaos. And the voice of conscience is so loud.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? I look forward to your comments below!

Happy Thanksgiving: Are You Content?

thankfulness-creates-gratitude-which-generates-contentment-that-causes-peace-todd-stockerRemember the essence of Thankfulness:
WLC Question 146: Which is the tenth commandment?
Answer: The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Question 147: What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a FULL CONTENTMENT WITH OUR OWN CONDITION, and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward our neighbor, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him, tend unto, and further all that good which is his.

from Westminster Larger Catechism