The Day of Your Visitation

Luk 19:41 And when he (Jesus) drew near and saw the city (Jerusalem), he wept over it,
Luk 19:42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
Luk 19:43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side
Luk 19:44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
English Standard Version

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Luk 19:41 And when he (Jesus) was come near (Jerusalem), he beheld the city, and wept over it,
Luk 19:42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
Luk 19:43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
Luk 19:44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
King James Version

That was part of the passage Pastor James Faris preached yesterday at 2nd Reformed Presbyterian Church. I have always been taken by the phrase “day of visitation” because it seems that most of us experience certain times in life when God softens our hearts to hear His counsel.  We either heed it or we harden our hearts against it.  This is true for the believer and the non-believer.

For the believer this time of visitation is usually for encouragement and strength or for something we need to repent of.  For the unbeliever it is a call to be reconciled to God. It is a message to believe in the person and work of Christ so that they might have everlasting life.  A day of visitation can also be a time of recompense for the evil a person or even Nations have to account for.

I may be incorrect but it seems that there are certain times when He visits the soul. You shouldn’t say tomorrow, tomorrow I will take care of the thing God is visiting me about. Our hearts are too fickle, easily hardened, and God doesn’t have a limitless patience. He is longsuffering but he does have a time frame that shouldn’t be neglected. I think I can back this up with the following passage along with a warning from the book of Hebrews.

Revelation chapter 2

Rev 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
Rev 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Rev 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Rev 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

If you ever have a chance, note all of the instances where the word visitation is used in the Scriptures. It is a fascinating nugget of God’s word. It seems it signifies days of judgment or times when men may be called to account for their lives either in this world or the world to come.  When you do it keep in mind two passages if you are a believer.  Our actions as children of God might have some effect upon others when they have a ‘day of visitation’.

Matthew chapter 5

Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
Mat 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Mat 5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

1 Peter chapter 2

1Pe 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
1Pe 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Just a few examples from the Old Testament..

Isa 10:3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?

Jer 8:12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

And a warning to not harden our hearts in the the times of temptation and days of visitation…

Heb 3:4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
Heb 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
Heb 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Heb 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,
Heb 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
Heb 3:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
Heb 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
Heb 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Heb 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Heb 4:4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
Heb 4:5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
Heb 4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
Heb 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

We have asked God to leave us.

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We are like those in Luke 8:35-37 We have asked The Lord to leave and He has.

Social Government has removed our foundations, the Love of God (Messiah the Prince) the Ten Commandments, and asked God to leave as it makes law. And now they expect evil to bow and be restrained to them as a foundation?  These men don’t understand evil nor do they know their own depths of depravity.

The Fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom and to depart from evil is understanding. Oops, There I go again quoting the very thing the people have rejected. Be Not Deceived, God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. He that sows godlessness shall reap evil. He that sows good shall reap good. Woe to the men who call evil good and good evil. Foundations matter. Our Society is reaping what it has sown. We have forsaken the solid foundations we were given and have replaced them with shifting sand.

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What is sad is that those who replaced the foundation for what they believe is better are going to cause their house to crumble along with the poor foundation. We are witnessing it more and more daily. Disrespect for parents and authority, Tattooing our bodies, Sexual Perversion, Promiscuous sex, Theft, Lying, and Murder are climbing up in the stats. Divorce, Unlawful marriages and remarriages, Cursing and lusting for your neighbors goods and mate are common day actions without rebuke. The smaller sins are turning into greater sins as sin hardens the soul of our Nation against what is good.

Now Society is screaming for the Social Government to fix the problems. But it can’t. It is not only an outward problem but an attitude and inward heart problem. We are reaping what we are sowing. We don’t even know how to forgive nor have the desire to say no to sin. Myself included. I have experienced my heart growing this way to my shame and I acknowledge and know some of what is good. We have turned away from the Source of Healing and asked him to depart from us. There is no forgiveness or healing for us if we push God out of our lives. He is the true source and only medicine for what ails us. And it has eternal consequences.

Another great problem has arisen also. One of the places left on earth for God’s word to be proclaimed has forsaken His counsel also in the name of  humanitarianism and equal rights.  The Presbyterian Church USA has forsaken truth for a lie also believing their wisdom is above God’s Word.  Sexual Perversity has gained acceptance in the name of love.  Other denominations have done similar things.  The very place that truth is to be proclaimed has become a den of wickedness in word and action.  Now they have no place to return to for truth like the those described in Jeremiah 6, Romans 1, and Hebrews 10.

Jer 6:13    For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
Jer 6:14    They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
Jer 6:15    Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

Rom 1:20    For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Rom 1:21    Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23    And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24    Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:25    Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 1:26    For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Rom 1:27    And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Rom 1:28    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Rom 1:29    Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Rom 1:30    Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31    Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Rom 1:32    Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Heb 10:26-27

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,    But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

There is hope….

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

2Co 5:17-21

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him

Stay out of the Culture Wars and get back to the Gospel?

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Ever been told that the Church needs to get out of the Culture Wars and get back to the Gospel?

Well, here is my answer to that.

I admit that I find the cultural engagement a place to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Law has many good functions as people engage each other no matter what arena we contend in. From the Church, Mars Hill, all the way up to the Magistrates, God has given us a wonderful foundation where we can call all men to be reconciled to God and live at peace with him. Don’t forget that it was Christ who gave us the Decalogue which reveals God’s will, Love God and our neighbor. 

God is Love. But Love reproves wrong and perversion so that it can recover. To leave something or someone in a path of self destruction is not love. Therefore the word Repent is usually done with a lot of compassion and love for those who oppose themselves by their self-destructive lusts and behaviors.

Pastors and Christians who refuse to be involved with some of the issues in the “Culture Wars” should not be able to use the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as an excuse to not engage the world concerning its adversity to God’s will. The Culture Wars have eternal consequences.

As St. Paul noted, “How shall they hear if no one is sent.” After all we are the ones who are Christ’s Ambassadors. How shall they know if they are at enmity with God if no one brings that truth to them?  How shall the Christian in his station of life be challenged if he is not instructed on how to live out the Truth of the Kingdom of God in a world that opposes his King?  We can’t use the Gospel as an excuse to avoid the Culture Wars.  The World needs to be warned of the Wrath to Come.  The Christian needs to be warned about standing in a position that is opposed to God’s will.  Christ is the Mediator over all things.  Even over the peace of the Church.  We are called to be a light to the world.  We are to pray for all men in all stations of life so that Christ may be known and so that we may live holy lives in peace.

Pax Ecclesia.

Therefore don’t be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto Salvation.  Romans 1:16

2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
2Co 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
2Co 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2Ti 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
2Ti 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

I particularly want to draw attention to St. Paul’s challenge and that that charge was to all men everywhere in this passage. It means all men from Magistrates on down to the poorest. Everywhere.

Act 17:24    God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Act 17:25    Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Act 17:26    And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Act 17:27    That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Act 17:28    For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Act 17:29    Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
Act 17:30    And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Act 17:31    Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Tullian Tchividjian, Michael Horton, David Murray / Depraved Christianity / Antinomianism

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A few years ago the terms Depraved and Christian were being used together.  It raised some eyebrows back then so I started to document some of the communication and reviews that were being done by men such as Richard Phillips, David Murray, Tullian Tchividjian, and a few others.  The discussion provoked me into seeing that this topic also had to do with how the Gospel was being defined when I read this quote by Tullian Tchividjian .

 “The gospel, in fact, transforms us precisely because it’s not itself a message about our internal transformation but about Christ’s external substitution.” 

That sounded foreign and a bit off kilter from what I had read in the Bible.  Especially after I felt confirmed in my understanding by scripture and what Dr. David Murray said in response to this.

Dr. David Murray writes…
I agree that the Gospel is certainly a message about Christ’s external substitution. But it does not stop there. The Gospel is also a message about internal transformation (a major part of sanctification). Christ saves us from our sins objectively and subjectively, from the penalty of sin and the presence of sin.

I found that a Modern definition of the Gospel had permeated the Church and it seemed very truncated and deficient.  So I wrote a third blog post highlighting the Gospel.  It was in response to what I had learned concerning what Dr. Michael Horton had to say about the Gospel.

 Horton notes…

The term “gospel” is a very precise term, a particular kind of word, or kind of speech in the Bible.  It refers to God’s promise of salvation in Christ.  The gospel is a victory announcement.  It never tells us something to do.  That is the business of the law.  Rather, the gospel tells us something that has been done.

Consequently, those who speak of living the gospel or doing the gospel commit a category mistake.   More importantly, they make the most basic theological mistake a person could make, namely, confuse the law and the gospel.  And if we confuse the law and the gospel, then we will make ourselves partly your own saviors, adding to the work of Christ.

Is Horton Correct?  …. As a Pastor aquaintance has noted….

The most serious problem is that Horton’s indictment is based upon a shaky foundation.  Horton’s critique is predicated upon his narrow and strict definition of the term “gospel.”  But is that the only way the Bible uses or defines the term “gospel”?  The answer is no!  Romans 2:16 connects the future judgment with the gospel and 2 Thess. 1:8 and 1 Pet. 4:17 both speak of obeying the gospel.  The gospel is to be obeyed.  But how do you obey a victory announcement?  How do you obey what God has done?  So either the Bible itself confuses law and gospel or it uses the word “gospel” differently (at times) than Horton.  Since the latter must be true, then Horton shouldn’t make the strict definition of the gospel, the one and only definition of the gospel.  And he most certainly shouldn’t make any charges of legalism towards those who use a broader yet biblical definition of the gospel.

Of course,  I threw some of my thinking into the fray because I had been dealing with these issues on a personal level for many years.  So just for a rehash of some older posts I present the blogs that were done a few years ago.  

Depraved Christianity may be Antinomian Christianity

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/depraved-christianity-may-be-antinomian-christianity/

Depraved Christianity may be Antinomian Christianity Part 2

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/depraved-christianity-may-be-antinomian-christianity-part-2/

(What is the Gospel?) Depraved Christianity might be Antinomian Christianity pt. 3

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/depraved-christianity-might-be-antinomian-christianity-pt-3/

I have been a moderator of a Confessional Theological Discussion Forum for many years now.  Some may wonder if I ever get tired of having to wade through the issues as it always seems that there is some new pressing issue that the Church has to deal with.  The answer is yes.  I have had to pull back quite a few times and refocus on what is important.  I have found myself in need of repentance for attitudes I have developed.  I have grown weary of studying things I didn’t want to.  But I have also been graced to grow in the knowledge and Grace of Our Saviour.  He has been so good to us.  Even though I have learned we all have differences many of those differences actually help us grow.  So I don’t take it lightly that we have disagreements or might rub each other the wrong way.  As Iron Sharpens Iron says the old Proverb.  This one thing I have learned, If we are commanded to love our enemies as ourselves how much more should we love the Church and each other for whom Christ died.  May that be a force no one can overcome.

I still believe Orthodoxy leads to Orthopraxy.  Therefore I strive to know and grow.
May HIs Kingdom Come on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Be Encouraged,

RMS

Old Posts on the Modern Reformed Movement

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/old-posts-on-the-mosaic-covenant-vs-the-new-reformed-paradigm/

Tullian Tchividjian and Mark Jones’ Reformation 21 blog post

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Click here to view Dr. Mark Jones’ Reformation 21 blog post, ‘Tullian’s Trench’


Pastor Tullian Tchividjian of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has been removed from the list of contributors on the Gospel Coalition’s blog. I believe his older posts will remain. Maybe Dr. Mark Jones’ challenges concerning sanctification (a Christian’s growth in personal holiness) along with other prominent men such as Richard Phillips, David Murra
y, Daniel Hyde, and Kevin DeYoung have had some influence on the situation. I don’t know if the decision to remove Tullian Tchividjian from being a contributor was made by Pastor Tchividjian himself or the Council Members over at The Gospel Coalition. Either way, I have a hope that the Church is finally getting the point that this issue is important and that it is just as important as Dr. Jones declared it is in his recent Reformation 21 blog post

“In aiming to protect the doctrine of justification, Tchividjian does more harm than good to this precious doctrine. We cannot be light-hearted about this doctrine; it is worth dying for. Even so, we can’t read justification into passages that are clearly talking about sanctification, as Tchividjian is prone to do in many places. When this type of theologizing is done by preachers on a consistent basis, their preaching becomes burdensome, and preaching (and God’s commandments) should not be burdensome. Ironically, by doing this (i.e., reading justification into sanctification), Tchividjian has made, to use his words, a “category” mistake.”

I personally appreciated Mark’s challenge here.

“But perhaps TGC will have the theological fortitude to remove Tchividjian’s blog. And will others say something? Oh that Tullian would be rebuked, not defended, by those wishing to recover the Reformed confession.” MJ

Maybe it is time for some cold reality to be splashed on the face of those who claim to be Confessionally Reformed and or Presbyterian. That reality can be stated like this, Just because you attach the name Reformed to something doesn’t necessarily mean it is good Reformed Theology. Good godly men have been lovingly raising awareness over aberrations concerning the teaching of sanctification and good works for the past few years. What some guys are pawning off as Reformed Theology doesn’t appear to be sound Reformed Theology at all. And that appears to include the teaching of sanctification and good works in its various formulations as noted by Mark Jones in his Reformation 21 blog post.

Additional Follow ups…

Follow up blog post 5/20/14 …. https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/tullian-exit-stage-left-dazed-and-confused/

TGC explanation 5/21/14 http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/on-some-recent-changes-at-tgc

We want to give readers help in understanding some of the changes that have gone on at The Gospel Coalition of late. One minister, Tullian Tchividjian, was asked to move his blog off our website. Two other members of the Council, Joshua Harris and C. J. Mahaney, resigned from the Council (Tullian was not a member of the Council). Each move had significantly different reasons behind it.

In Tullian’s case, it was obvious to observers that for some time there has been an increasingly strident debate going on around the issue of sanctification. The differences were doctrinal and probably even more matters of pastoral practice and wisdom. Recently it became clear that the dispute was becoming increasingly sharp and divisive rather than moving toward greater unity. Earlier in the year our executive director spent two days with Tullian in Florida. Coming out of that meeting, it was decided that Tullian would move his blog. Finally the Council at its meeting last week decided that Tullian should move his blog immediately, and we communicated this conclusion to Tullian.

I honestly believe the Westminster Confession of Faith contains one of the best summaries and sound proclamations concerning sanctification and good works. So I will just leave you with its teaching as my final thoughts here.

CHAPTER XIII.

Of Sanctification.

I. They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

II. This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life: there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

III. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome: and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

CHAPTER XVI.

Of Good Works.

I. Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intention.

II. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.

III. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.

IV. They, who in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate and to do more than God requires, that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.

V. We can not, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they can not endure the severity of God’s judgment.

VI. Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.

Without Holiness No Man Shall See The Lord

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(Heb 12:14) Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:


As I studied the passage mentioned above through the years I came to the conclusion that holiness is a real important issue in the life of the believer. Our holiness matters. It doesn’t save us but it is a result of knowing Christ. I came to understand the Hebrews passage in light of something Jesus said during His sermon on the Mount.

Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven

The Pharisees and scribes were no slackers in trying to obey the law. But their obedience and performance of it seems to be a bit off kilter as a matter of the heart. In fact the passages following the quote above signify a deeper understanding of the Law. The issue isn’t that I have never committed physical adultery but that Adultery is a matter of the heart just as is the issue of cursing a brother and hating someone being equivalent to murder.

Does our righteousness matter? Of course we can’t measure up but we start to see things differently and obey Christ and do righteous deeds so that he may be Glorified instead of us trying to be holy for our glory alone and justification. Our Holiness Matters. But it is a matter of the heart.

I think Jesus shows us a difference between the righteousness of the Pharisee and that of the just in the following passages.

(Mat 6:5) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

(Mat 6:6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

The difference is a matter of the heart. Holiness matters. Without it we need to be cautious.

 Let me add to that from the Westminster Confession of Faith to see if it can illuminate us any farther.

CHAPTER XVI.

Of Good Works.

I. Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intention.

II. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.

III. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spiritbut they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.

IV. They, who in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate and to do more than God requires, that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.

V. We can not, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they can not endure the severity of God’s judgment.

VI. Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.

Our righteousness is important as it is a fruit of the Spirit. Without holiness of this sort there is much to be worried about if we examine who and what we are. This is one of the reasons we are told by Saint Paul to examine ourselves at the Lord’s Table in 1 Corinthians 11 and in 2 Corinthians 13:5. In fact Jesus basically says the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount which I spoke of before. Here are the two quotes.

2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Mat 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Mat 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

I would caution at the same time that we must not compare our holiness, or ability to perform against our brothers capabilities. That is dangerous. St. Paul tells us this here.

2Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 

We all are babes when we come to Christ and are only able to digest so much. We all are different and mature differently. Each of us have different issues. Some of us have deep sin and deep inclinations toward different kinds of sin. Some are much harder to overcome if we have participated in particular sin. Everyone starts off in the faith with different struggles due to our involvement with different kinds of bondage to sin. Deliverance is of the Lord and we are to work out our salvation. That will look very differently for some than others. But God will do things and he will pity us as his children.

Through the Years Psalm 130 has become important to me.

Psa 130:1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
Psa 130:2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
Psa 130:3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
Psa 130:4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
Psa 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
Psa 130:6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Psa 130:7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
Psa 130:8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

I hope this helps.

Negro Slavery Unjustifiable Rev. Mcleod 1802

Exo 21:16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America was the second denomination in the United States to oppose Slavery. I believe the first was the Mennonites of German town. In their resolutions they denounced the evil in the 1600’s I believe. On 18 February 1688, they drafted a set of resolutions in opposition to slavery, or what they called “the traffic of men-body.”

Reference: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/men01.asp

But I may stand corrected by anyone who can help me with the history.

This was one of the subjects that drew me to Christ due to the fact that I was raised to believe in the dignity of all men no matter what their ethnicity was by my parents. I was asked to join a racist organization while I was in the Navy and I refused even though I was threatened by these people. Knowing my wickedness and seeing that evil was restrained in this world, I knew there had to be a good God. Creation declared his order and control. So I ran to the scriptures for understanding. I had tried to read the scriptures as a young child but with no understanding. I was like the Ethiopian eunuch who needed understanding.

Act 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
Act 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Act 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Act 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
Act 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
Act 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Act 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
Act 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
Act 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
Act 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

I obviously went away rejoicing in October of 1981. I started reading the Gospels and came to know God as He gave me understanding. You can read my testimony here.
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/my-perceived-testimony-of-christs-work-in-my-life-2/