Saturday, April 14, 2012

Does our praying 'save' anyone? Consider the conversion of Saul ....

Does our praying 'save' anyone? Consider the conversion of Saul ....

by Patte Smith on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 6:43pm ·

In considering the dramatic conversion of the religious devil Saul into the pious lion-hearted apostle Paul I am struck by the fact that it does not appear that the other apostles & a faithful man named Ananias were praying for his conversion. If they were, they must not have been praying 'in faith'. Why do I say this? Because when Jesus knocked Saul off his high horse, blinded him & regenerated his soul, Ananias didn't want to go to him & the disciples didn't even want to let him in their door! They didn't believe that the evil persecutor of Christians could be saved, so I doubt they were praying for his salvation. (Read Acts 9 for yourselves.) I give thanks to God that we do know that Saul HEARD a powerful gospel message preached by Stephen. And when the self-righteous, murderous Pharisee of pharisees heard the saving truth about Jesus Christ and Him crucified, he stood consenting to the humble preacher's stoning death (Acts 8:1) However, we believe that no Word of God returns void. It is very possible that God used the first Christians martyr's bold gospel proclamation to bring a measure conviction of sin to Saul. However, it did not appear from the Bible's rendition of what happened that when the prosecutor of Christians was brought to his knees, that the saints were in prayerful expectation of his becoming a brother in Jesus. I recount this story to remind us that WITH or WITHOUT our prayers, the Lord will have His way with all sinners.

That is not to say we should not pray. On the contrary, we are instructed to 'pray without ceasing' (I Thess 5:17) & Jesus taught us to love and pray for our enemies (Matt 5:44) Most of all, prayer is a sacred privilege because it is our blessed time of communion with our Beloved. But let us remember, my friends, that it is not US or 'our' PRAYERS or even 'our' faithful WITNESSING that causes spiritual re-birth. Yes, we must pray. We must witness. We must do both. We do this in humble obedience to the revealed will of God. It is both our duty and our joy to do so. We know that no sinner, no matter how wicked, is beyond the grace & power of Almighty God. Nothing is impossible with God. But, dear friends, make no mistake. Salvation is of the Lord. (John 2:9) Selah.

While well-meaning people want to pray to press God or make 'declarations' to obtain someone's salvation, that simply is not biblical. The Geneva Study Bible notes the following about regeneration: 

Regeneration is the gift of God's grace. It is the immediate, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit wrought in a person. It's effect is to quicken us to spiritual life from spiritual death. It changes the disposition of our souls, inclining our hearts to God. The fruit of regeneration is faith. Regeneration precedes faith. ---

We must live with child-like faith, trusting in God to save whosoever He will. RC Sproul writes about the "will of God" and I believe his biblical teaching helps us to think and pray rightly regarding someone's salvation: 

Many Christians become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the "will" of God for their lives. If the will we are seeking is His secret, hidden, or decretive will, then our quest is a fool's errand. The secret counsel of God is His secret. He has not been pleased to make it known to us. Far from being a mark of spirituality, the quest for God's secret will is an unwarranted invasion of God's privacy. God's secret counsel is none of our business. This is partly why the Bible takes such a negative view of fortune-telling, necromancy, and other forms of prohibited practices.---

Let us pray like a child, trusting the Good Shepherd to do what is good and right in a person's life, especially with regards to their salvation. May we pray the prayer of faith with Job, who cried out to the Lord: 
“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted."
~ Job 42:2

There are no goats in the Lamb's book

There are no goats in the Lamb's book

by Patte Smith on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 9:01pm ·

A goat can go to church all of her life
but that will alone never make her into a sheep.
She must be born-again
and made a sheep of God
to have her name written in the Lamb's book.

John Owen wrote:

In the visible professing church,
all things outwardly seemed to be equal.
There are the same ordinances administered unto all,
the same profession of faith is made by all,
the same outward duties are attended unto,
and scandalous offenses are by all avoided.
But yet things are not internally equal.
In a great house, there are vessels of wood and stone,
as well as of gold and silver.
All that eat outwardly of the bread of life,
do not feed on the hidden manna.
All that have their names enrolled in the church’s book,
may yet not have them written in the Lamb’s book.
There are yet better things than gifts, profession,
participation of ordinances
and whatever is of the like nature.
And the use hereof in one word is to warn all sorts of persons,
that they rest not in, that they take not up with an interest in,
or participation of the privileges of the church,
with a common profession,
which may give them a name to live;
seeing they may be dead or in a perishing condition in the meantime.
...................... ❦ ....................

An "unfeigned faith" (2 Tim. 1:5) in Christ,
is one which submits to His yoke and bows to His authority.
There is no such thing in Scripture as receiving Christ as Savior
without also receiving Him as Lord:
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6).
If it be an honest and genuine faith,
it is inseparably connected with a spirit of obedience,
a desire to please Him,
a resolve to not henceforth live unto self,
but unto Him which died for me (2 Cor. 5:15).
The man who really thinks he has a saving faith in Christ,
but yet has no concern for His glory and no heart for His commandments,
is blinded by Satan.
There are things which "accompany salvation",
that have a certain connection therewith.
As light is inseparable from the shining of the sun,
as heat is inseparable from fire,
so good works are inseparable from a saving faith.

~ A.W.Pink

He that is not afraid of sinning
has good need to be afraid of damning.
Truth hates error,
holiness abhorreth guilt,
and grace cannot but detest sin.
If we do not desire to be cautious to avoid offending our Lord,
we may rest confident that we have no part in Him,
for true love to Christ will rather die
than wound Him.
Hence love to Christ is “the best antidote to idolatry;
for it prevents any object from occupying the rightful throne of the Savior.
The believer dares not admit a rival into his heart,
knowing that this would grievously offend the King.
The simplest way of preventing an excessive love of the creature
is to net all our affection upon the Creator.
Give thy whole heart to thy Lord,
and thou canst not idolize the things of earth,
for thou wilt have nothing left wherewith to worship them.

~ Charles Spurgeon

Love is faithful, and because it seeks the highest good of its objects, will reprove, rebuke, admonish, when occasion calls for it. Spiritual love is regulated not by impulse, but by principle. Herein it differs from the backboneless amiability and affability of the flesh, and from the maudlin sentimentality of the day.

~ A.W.Pink

We hence conclude, that not only the reprobates ought to be reproved, severely, and with sharp earnestness, but also the elect themselves, even those whom we deem to be children of God.
~ John Calvin

Are you a 'respecter of persons'? Do you respect the mother more than her baby?

Are you a 'respecter of persons'? Do you respect the mother more than her baby?

by Patte Smith on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 3:24pm ·

It is often tempting to show preference to one person over another,
isn't it?

Come on.

Admit it.

People are like that.

When we meet an abortion-vulnerable mother, we can find ourselves being tempted to treat the woman as if she is
more valuable,
more significant,
more important, than her little baby.

God isn't like that.

For there is no respect of persons with God. (KJV)
For God shows no partiality. (ESV)
For God does not show favoritism. (NIV)
God does not play favorites. (GWT)
For God pays no attention to this world's distinctions. (WNT)
~ Romans 2:11

We tend to 'favor' the woman because we SEE her and seek to 'get on her good side'. The little baby is there in front of us. His or her tiny heart is beating. The infant is real, but unseen. We often find ourselves extending compassion & mercy to her & her situation, marginalizing the innocent person who is also before us, whose life is imperiled. We show partiality to the mother over the infant by speaking to her as if her life & her circumstances & relationships are what are important. We want her to know that we care, but, we must be careful not to do this at the expense of the person she is carrying in her womb. The abortion-minded mother is our neighbor, but so is her child. The woman is not to be 'preferred' over her son or daughter, even in order for us to 'gain a hearing'. Most certainly we are to treat the abortion-minded woman with respect and dignity. However, not at the expense of the child she is carrying. The pre-born infant inside the mother deserves our respect & our best labor to promote, protect & preserve his or her life.

Showing partiality is a sin.

Partiality is strictly (and often) forbidden by God in the Bible. See Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17; Proverbs 24:23; James 2:1, James 2:3,James 2:9 for starters. As God is the eternal Judge, we know that He shows no partiality. He will not be influenced by power, stature, rank or appearance of people. Jesus commanded us to 'judge righteous judgment' (John 7:24) as His Father. (Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; Galatians 6:7-8; 1 Peter 1:17; Acts 10:34.)

He will not be won or awed by their rank or function; by their wealth or endowments; by their numbers, their power, or their robes of royalty and splendor. Every man should tremble at the prospect of falling into the hands of a just God, who will treat him just as he deserves, and should without delay seek a refuge in the Saviour and Advocate provided for the guilty: 1 John 2:1-2.
~ Albert Barnes

For practical examples, brethren. I could start with a very common one, which I find on many pregnancy center websites. Telling the woman that abortion (murdering her baby) is one of her 'options' and 'choices'. If a rapist was sitting next to a woman whom he was considering brutally assaulting, would we casually counsel the would-be rapist that rape was most certainly one of his 'options'? How would the rape-imperiled woman feel if you treated her as if she was invisible or, at the very least, an inanimate object? Wouldn't that be showing favoritism to the rapist and revealing a less-than-dignified and less-than-loving view of the woman?

I have viewed multiple websites that go further than presenting the violent murder of an innocent baby as one of 3 'options'. They actually DESCRIBE the various ways that innocent children can be dismembered, poisoned, delivered, etc. Can you imagine sitting in front of a rapist & his intended victim describing in detail the methods the predator can utilize to brutalize his prey?

And then, imagine if the counselor appealed to the rapist on the basis of the risks to HIM and how it will affect HIM emotionally, spiritually and physically, rather than to address the revelation of scripture about the precious humanity of his victim and the fact of God's absolute prohibition of attacking an innocent person?

Hasn't this uncovered a tragic (& oftimes fatal) 'preference' for the strong and guilty over the weak and innocent?

This woman-centered (sometimes called non-judgmental, non-directive) counseling is obviously laden with favoritism toward the woman (and against the babe in her womb). One of the religious reasons people justify preferring the guilt woman over her innocent child is the extra-biblical belief that 'all babies go to heaven'. Perhaps that is why it would be unthinkable to present rape as an option to a man whose victim is 'of age'??

A leader of a post-abortion ministry recently admitted to a friend that our primary motive for going to abortuaries, in her mind, was not to save babies from being murdered because "they all go right to heaven". She said that the motivation for intervening to prevent infants from being slaughtered was: 'to spare women the pain and suffering of an abortion decision'. (Btw, this particular gal doesn't go to killing places to try & stop moms from taking the lives of their babies.)

A friend mentioned something interesting. If we don't "need" to protect babies because they automatically go to heaven then we don't "need" to protect the life of any believer. Very good application.

[By the way, I'm not saying that I know for sure whether all babies go to heaven, but I will say that it is not EXplicitly taught in the scriptures. That's all. Yes, David had confidence he would see his son in heaven. That doesn't mean that every wicked person must needs have the same confidence. We are all conceived in iniquity & original sin is resident in every human being from conception. Whoever is saved from sin, no matter the age, must be saved by BLOOD of the Lamb. I trust in the judgments of the Lord & know that He & His judgments) are good & perfect, true and righteous altogether.]

The commandment of God; "You shall not murder" is both a negative prohibition to shedding innocent blood AND a positive duty to prevent harm from coming to our neighbor. We have a duty before God to visit and protect the abortion-imperiled afflicted orphans. The Law is the divine instrumentality of God to address the conscience of sinners in a way that nothing, and no one, else can. It's nothing short of devilish to leave it out of the conversation.

We, however, often try & present sexually women with life enhancement ideas, appealing to their selfish flesh, rather than boldly forbidding her to take up arms against the God who created, sustains and rules over her. With woman-centered rationale we do not call her to have mercy on the child of her womb because the child deserves loving protection. We merely try and make her see herself as worthy of 'good' but do not speak against her ruthlessly attacking her helpless son or daughter.

Do you see what I mean?

My friend Penny got pregnant at 17. She was Catholic & went to a Catholic agency for counseling. Penny wrote:

"When I got counseling from a nun she made the whole session about ME. Like I was the center of the universe. She smiled sweetly & said I had a big 'decision'' to make. She never told me that having sex with my boyfriend was sin. She never told me that even though I was sexually immoral, God had given me a gift. She didn't show me Psalm 127:3: 'Children are a gift from the LORD.' Why? Why did she make it seem like murdering my poor baby was simply a personal 'decision'' which she 'respected' me enough to make for myself? Did she think she was doing me a favor by leaving me a slave to sin & as a whore who pleasured my boyfriend thinking that it was okay? What about my little son? What about my little daughter? Wasn't my baby worthy of consideration as a living human being? Wasn't his or her life worth protecting? And, weren't both of us worth sharing the reasonable commands of God & the gospel of Jesus Christ? I was left to my own sensual, sexual, selfish, murderous devices & my precious, voiceless, helpless baby was abandoned as a 'choice'.

And, let me make this perfectly clear. I don't blame that nun for my sexual immorality & murder. I was the one sleeping with my boyfriend. Not her. I was the one who was pregnant. Not her. I was the one who was trying to figure out whether to kill my baby or not. Not her. I am guilty, guilty, guilty. But do I think there is a measure of culpability to those 'religious' humanists who speak smooth words to whoring, aborting, sinners like me? Yes! They show favoritism. They clearly preferred me over my baby. I hope that my story will compel other religious do-gooders out there to quit suppressing the truth when you speak to abortion-vulnerable mommas like me. Treat our babies with respect. Don't 'favor' us over our children. Tell us the truth as it is in Jesus. Show us the mirror of God's Law. Tell us that God designed us, created us, sustains us & rules over us. Tell us that God owns our soul. That we are indebted to Him. Tell us about Jesus & His Blood. Tell us what the Savior warned His hearers: "Unless you repent, you will perish!" Command us to repent. Tell us fornicators that the Bible says that there is no place for us in the kingdom of heaven. (Ephesians 5:5;I Corinthians 6:9) Tell us that the Word of God prophesies that we will be cast into the lake of fire if we continue to have sex & murder (Rev 1:8). Offer us help through pregnancy. Tell us about adoption. Don't send us back to our boyfriends & shack-up lovers, as if those relationships are worth preserving. Send us to Jesus! He's the only Lover we really need!"

I am so thankful that more & more Christians are putting away their 'therapeutic' model of man/woman-centered ministry & becoming unashamedly scriptural. There is a powerful move afoot which keeps the glory of Jesus & His holy Law & living Word front & center, where it belongs. The LORD is smashing the idol of creature-worship & unjust preferential treatment.

Glory! Jesus will not share His glory with another!

I will make a humble confession. For many years of ministry I used rational, selfish woman-centered arguments with sexually immoral sinners who were murdering their babies. I would tell them how the abortionists had botched abortions, were imprisoned and had their license suspended. I would take time to explain about the risk of breast cancer, likelihood of loss of the relationship with the father, feelings of regret & guilt, risks of injury from abortion, etc, etc, etc. But, the more I considered the fact that I was appealing to their selfish desires & emotions (which got them to where they are in the first place!) I sensed a conviction that it was really reinforcing her idol of SELF & her lover. I was helping her to love the creature (herself, her lover, her job, her career, her parent's opinion & financial support, her education, her freedom, etc) more than her Creator, who is blessed forever. I was pointing her to her own extravagantly wicked self-interest rather than God & I was certainly diminishing the extrinsic value of her baby. (The value and dignity and worth of human babies comes from the fact that they are created in the image & likeness of God, by God.) Penny's testimony helped me with this & so has 20 years of experience being a missionary to aborting & post-abortive women (& thousands of others sinners in different witnessing venues, including many false converts.) But, the thing that REALLY drove it home to me was the Spirit of God as I studied the doctrine of sin, with the precious help of John Owen. I realized that even as born-again believers whenever we adjust (obfuscate, justify) NOT speaking with the Law & testimony of God in the scriptures, we are acting in response to our sin-nature (the law of sin & death in our members). Our carnal flesh (a resident evil) will rise up whenever we go to do (& say) the good we know to do (& say). It will make reasonable-sounding excuses (even & including religious ones) to suppress eternal verities. Romans 7:14-23 explains it's malevolent posturing to prevent us from doing & saying the truth as it is in Jesus. Have you ever read John Owen on the doctrine of sin? (You can download it free online. I would also be glad to send it to you in a PDF.)

As a person who has served the Lord in pro-life circles for two decades I view this problem of woman-centered 'counseling' as epidemic. That's why I am addressing it. If you heard the ridiculous things I have heard, you would know what I am talking about. Imagine in trying to stop a girl from aborting a Christian tells a sexually immoral girl of 18 that she might lose her relationship with her boyfriend if she kills her baby.  (As if fornicating with a veritable stranger is something she should consider valuable enough NOT to lose! For heaven's sake, she is COMMANDED by God to repent and LOSE that sinful relationship!) I want Christians to stop & think how "saving" a sinfully wicked relationship a) glorifies Christ & b) would be in HER best interest? Do you get what I am driving at here?

 A friend asked a good question: "If you actually convinced someone that they were sinning by aborting their baby and they chose life because of that - how is that different from them choosing life because you got them to understand it may be harmful to them? Either way, the unbeliever is left in a hellbound state."

The difference is that in speaking to someone biblically Jesus Christ was openly honored & glorified, His Word was not suppressed, you were not ashamed of Jesus & His Word & the person heard the way of salvation. The other way you wouldn't even have to be a Christian to say it. You could be a Mormon, a Muslim, even an atheist & use rational, subjective arguments against killing babies. Our distinctive is that we are not pragmatists, we are Christ-followers. We should be using His language. The truth is that the glory of Jesus is even more important than baby's being saved & sinners being saved.  The beauty is that the Law & gospel are the instruments God has divinely ordained to speak to the conscience of women, to restrain evil & to give glory to the Savior. Nothing better than that!

Also, the second use of the moral Law (God's commandments) is 'restraint of evil'. I know that we can well imagine who wants to suppress the mirror of truth in the commandments, which are perfect, converting the soul, making wise the simple, bring the knowledge of sin, are a tutor to Christ and which help sinners to fear the Lord.

The commandments are Hell's Best Kept Secret, for sure!

Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.Proverbs 31:9

Do not pervert justice;
do not show partiality to the poor
or favoritism to the great,
but judge your neighbor fairly.Leviticus 19:15

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless...Jeremiah 22:16 "He defended the cause of the poor and needy...Is that not what it means to know Me?"
declares the LORD.Isaiah 1:17

 Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will He not repay man according to his work?
Proverbs 24:11-12

Waiting for Jesus

Waiting for Jesus

by Patte Smith on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 8:36am ·

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy:

for I have espoused you to one Husband,

that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 11:21
The Greek phrase for 'godly jealousy' is; Θεοῦ ζήλῳ Theou zēlō. It means literally "the zeal of God". This is a passionate, intense, burning, white-hot, emotional, vehement zeal. It is a protective zeal. Paul's desire is to serve to sanctify & preserve the Bride, the Lamb's wife.

The apostle Paul was a good shepherd. An extraordinary shepherd. He was inspired by God, with the Holy Spirit, to, first & foremost, protect the honor and glory of Jesus Christ. He was also truly zealous for the real good and spiritual welfare of the professing believers. I love to consider how Paul sees himself as a friend of the Bridegroom, concerned as he was in the betrothing of the sons & daughters of men to Christ. And, also, Paul served as the 'Friend of the Bridegroom' announcing His coming ♥

How kind of God to provide Himself, the Great Shepherd, to born-again believers, whom He has loved even before they loved Him. Even if a believer has a corrupt, unfaithful under-shepherd (pastor, elders) & worldly friends, the Holy Spirit provides a strong & affectionate soul-abiding presence which ever commends us to our Betrothed, our Husband, Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul had holy jealousy for the people whom the Lord had gathered in the church in Corinth through his gospel outreach in that city. Paul's desire is that the saints should be kept pure & chaste for the Savior, Who had gone to prepare a place for them in heaven. Paul's earnest hope is that the believers would keep & live lives of holiness by the Spirit, keeping themselves pure for their Espoused Husband, Who was coming to take them to Himself forever.

How beautiful is that?

He speaks as one who woos them,
but yet as one that seeks them not for himself,
but for God.
~ Geneva Study Bible

Beloved, beware of so-called shepherds (& others) who seek you for themselves and their 'church' (or 'ministry'), rather than for Christ.

Paul was a faithful shepherd. He was keenly aware that the Lord had used him to espouse His people to Christ, not to 'church'. Jesus is the Bridegroom of whom the Church is the Bride (Re 21:2). Lest you be led astray, remember, if you are born-again you are a 'member' of the Body of Jesus, the universal Church.

You are not the 'wife' of the church,
you are the bride of Christ.

Together with all the redeemed people of God,
from all time, until the end of time,
you are the Bride of Messiah.

The apostle desired to preserve the Corinthians from being corrupted by the false apostles. There is but one Jesus, one Spirit, and one gospel, to be preached to them, and received by them...They should not listen to men, who, without cause, would draw them away ...
~ Matthew Henry

Husbands, love your wives
as Christ loved the Church
and gave Himself up for her,
to make her holy,
cleansing her by the washing with water
through the Word,
and to present her to Himself
as a radiant Church,
without stain or wrinkle
or any other blemish,
but holy and blameless.

~ Ephesians 5:25-27

I will betroth you to Me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
~ Hosea 2:19

These are those who did not defile themselves...
for they kept themselves pure.
They follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
They were purchased from among men
and offered as firstfruits to God
and the Lamb.
~ Revelation 14:4

The Danger of Delaying Repentance by Thomas Boston

The Danger of Delaying Repentance by Thomas Boston

by Patte Smith on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 8:32pm ·

The Danger of Delaying Repentance

“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.
So shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth,
and thy want as an armed man”
—Proverb 6:10,11

In this text we have the sluggard’s picture drawn, in reference to his eternal concerns. He is one that puts off his great work, “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.” The slothful sinner is sent to school to learn a lesson of the ant... to provide for winter, in the time of summer and harvest, when meat is to be got. There is a rousing call to the sinner to follow that example. But behold as a person that is loath to arise, he begs a little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep.

The point I intend to speak to from these words, is:  
The delaying and putting off of repentance-work, is a soul-ruining course among gospel-hearers.

In discoursing this doctrine, I shall show:

A. Why it is that gospel-hearers delay and put off repentance.
B. That this delaying is a soul-ruining course.
C. Lastly, Make application.

A. I shall show why it is that gospel-hearers delay and put off repentance. There is a generation that are not resolved never to repent, never to ply for salvation-work; but only they are not for it yet. They hope to amend and reform afterwards, but for the present they have no heart to it; so by cheating themselves out of their present time, they put a cheat on themselves for ever. They are called by the Word, and by their own consciences, to make ready for another world, to work out their salvation; but their hearts say, 'Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep'. Why is it so?

1. Satan has a great hand in this. If he cannot hold out the light altogether from disturbing them, he will do what he can to lull them asleep again, before they are fully wakened (Luke 11:21), “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace.” Thus he did with Felix (Acts 24:25), who, “as Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, trembled, and answered, 'Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season I will call for thee.'”  When the soul begins to think on making its escape, all the art of hell will be employed to hold it fast; and it is easier to get one to put off salvation-work till afterwards, than downright to refuse it altogether. And thus Satan is always on one of the two extremes, urging either that it is too soon, or else that it is too long a-doing.

2. The cares and business of the world contribute much to this. Hence our Lord explained “the seed which fell among thorns,” to be those, “who when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches, and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection” (Luke 8:14). How often are people in such an unsanctified throng of business, that they cannot find a convenient season for putting their salvation-work to a point? They have so many other cares upon their heads, that they jostle out the care of their souls. The truth is, persons in such a case will hardly find a time for that work.

3. The predominant love of carnal ease (Prov 26:15), “The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom, it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.” And hence never will a soul ply salvation-work in earnest, till it be effectually roused out of its lazy disposition.

4. The predominant love of sin. Why do persons stave off repentance, but because they are like those who entertaining their friends whom they have no will to part with, do therefore put off their departure from day to day? The parting with sin is like the cutting off of a member of the body (Matt 5:30). No man will delay a minute to throw a burning coal out of his bosom; but they will love to keep a sweet morsel under the tongue.

5. A natural aversion and backwardness to holiness (Rom 8:7), “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The heart will never be reconciled to the yoke of Christ, till grace make it so (Psalm 110:3). But like as the bullock unaccustomed to the yoke is loath to stoop to it, and therefore still draws aback; so will the heart of man do, till overcoming grace reach it (Jer 31:18). Hence, when light is let into the mind, but the aversion still remains in the will; what can be expected, but that the business of repentance, which they dare not absolutely refuse, will be delayed?

6. The hope of finding the work easier afterwards. The sluggard thinks with himself, that a little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep, would make it easier to him to get out of his bed; though, on the contrary, the more and the longer persons delay the work of repentance, it is the harder to go through with it. For sin is a disease, which, the longer it lasts, gathers the more strength, and is the harder to cure. And he that is not fit today to repent, will be less fit tomorrow.

7. A large reckoning on the head of time that is to come; hence the rich man reckoned, “I will say to my soul, 'Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” But let us hear the judgment of God concerning this speech: “But God said unto him, 'Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided” (Luke 12:19,20)? God has given no man a tack of years, no, nor hours; yet everybody is ready to tell what they will do tomorrow, next month, or next year. The young people think they have a great deal of time before their hand for repentance; the old people think they have enough before them for that too; and in people’s conceit there is always enough, till their time be gone quite, and they be wakened out of their dream. Hopes of long life have ruined many souls. O to be wise! “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy, and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow: For what is your life! It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:13,14). But what folly is it to venture eternity on such uncertainty!

8. A fond conceit of the easiness of the salvation-work. There is a generation that please themselves with the thought, that it is but to believe and repent, and that is soon done.. they think they need to be in no haste. But O how contrary is this to the whole strain of Scripture, and the saints’ experience? “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:14). “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). The apostle speaks of “the exceeding greatness of God’s power toward them who believe, according to the working of His mighty power; which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead” (Eph 1:19,20). “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear” (I Peter 4:18)? Did men believe this, that there is such a difficulty in getting to heaven, they would not dare delay for a minute entering on the way.

9. A conceit of sufficient ability in ourselves to turn ourselves from sin unto God. That the doctrine advancing the power of natural reason and ability in spiritual things, does take so much with the world, is no
wonder, since man naturally is such a stranger to his own spiritual impotency. Hence it is observed, that first question with the awakened is, “What shall I do to be saved”? It is worth observing how the carnal heart turns itself into different shapes, to retain its sinful lusts. Sometimes the man says, that he is not able to do any good; but when his sin cannot find shelter under this covert, but he is pursued hot with conviction, he puts off his reformation to another time; thereby in effect declaring that he can do it, if he had but a season for it. He that is to use his oars may row at what hour he pleases; but he that must sail by the help of the wind, must set off while it blows, because he cannot command it.

B. I shall show, that this delaying is a soul-ruining course.
This is evident, if you consider:

1. It is directly opposite to the gospel-call; which is for today, not for tomorrow:
Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb 3:7,8). All the calls of the gospel require present compliance, and do not allow sinners to put off till another day. It is true, salvation-work must be deliberate work; but you are not allowed a time to deliberate whether you will come to Christ and be holy or no. It is like the call to quench fire in a house, that must presently be done, yet done deliberately, so as the work be not marred in the making. How then can it be but a soul-ruining course.

2. It is threatened with ruin. The text is very express, “So shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth, and thy want as an armed man.” And one with a thousand times more safety might venture on a sword-point, than the edge of such a divine threatening. See Proverbs 23:21 and Ecclesiastes 10:18. And this threatening has been accomplished in many, whom their slothful delays have caused to perish; as in the case of Ephraim (Hosea 13:13), and Felix (Acts 24:25). Many have been not far from the kingdom of God, who yet never came to it.

3. Whenever grace touches the heart, men see that it is so. Hence says the Psalmist, “I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments” (Psalm 119:60). When men are in earnest to get into Christ by faith, and to get back to God by repentance, they dare linger no more in the state of wrath, they flee out of it, as one fleeing for his life (Matt 3:7). Their eyes are opened to see their danger, and therefore they are presently determined.

4. It has a native tendency to soul-ruin, which inevitably overtakes them, if they do not at length break off all delays, and come away. This is evident, if ye consider,

1st, The state of sin is a state of wrath, where ruin must needs compass a man about on every hand, “He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). To have stayed in Sodom that day it was to be burnt, was dangerous; but to abide a moment in the state of wrath, is far more dangerous. Who would venture into a house that is about to fall? Who would not presently leave it? And will men venture “yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep” (Prov 24:33), in a state of enmity with God? Surely such persons know not God’s greatness, nor the worth of their own souls.

2ndly, The longer you continue in sin, your spiritual death advances the more upon you. Every sin sets you a step farther from God, is a new bar in the way of your peace with Him, strengthens your natural enmity against Him, and alienates you more from the life of God. And where can this natively end, but in your souls’ ruin? Ah! are we not far enough on in that way already? Why delay more, that we may go yet farther off from God?

3rdly, While you remain in this state, there is but a step betwixt you and death, which you may be carried over by a delay of ever so short a time. All that is your security in this case, so far as you can see, is the brittle thread of your life, which may be broken at a touch, and then you are ruined without remedy. So that every delay, shorter or longer, for repentance, is a venturing of eternity on that uncertain life of yours, which in a moment may be taken from you.

C. Application.

1. This lets us see,
(a) That delayers of repentance are self-destroyers, self-murderers. Well may it be said to such, “Why will ye die” (Ezek 18:31)? Should a man wilfully neglect a remedy for his disease, which puts him in hazard of his life, he could not be guiltless of his own death; more than one who being called to rise and quench the fire in house, and yet would lie still till it were consumed to ashes, would be blameless of its ruin. Self-love, that is, love of sinful self, is the source of the greatest cruelty; whereby lusts are spared to the destruction of the life of the soul.

(b) By delays the interest of hell is advanced; where many are this day who had resolved to repent, but death did not wait their time, and so they were disappointed. No wonder new grounds of delay be still laid to persons’ hands, for it is Satan’s great drift to get men entangled in the wilderness, that they may not make forward to Canaan’s land. And every new entanglement sets the soul a step nearer to destruction; and who questions but Satan has art enough to coin new pretenses for delays?

(c) No wonder Satan is most busy to ply the engine of delays, when a sinner is somewhat awakened by conviction; as he did with Felix (Acts 24:25). “A soft answer turneth away wrath”; and delays will blunt the edge of convictions, as much as a peremptory refusal. Under convictions, at a sermon, or on a sick- bed, the sinner is awakened out of his sleep; but then nothing can serve Satan’s purpose better than “yet a little sleep”; which if they get, they sleep off the edge of convictions.

(d) They are sinners’ best friends, that give them least rest in a sinful course. And whatever men think of them now, they will think so afterwards (Prov 5:11-13). Everybody loves ease, and therefore faithful preaching and dealing with souls, is a torment to those who love to be undisturbed in their rest in sin (Rev 11:10). But what suits best with our sinful inclinations, is worst for our souls, and will in the end be found so. Flattery has ruined many, when plain dealing and fair warning has brought many out of the snare.

2. We may lament here the case of many, nay of most, that hear the gospel. They put off their work from time to time, and so their spiritual case is going to wreck day by day. This is the case in natural things: “By much slothfulness the building decayeth, and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through” (Eccl 10:18). They are in a dying condition, the physician comes to their bedside, and offers them a remedy; they do not absolutely refuse it, only they put off the taking of it. In the mean time their distemper increases, and death is advancing apace. The market of free grace is opened, and they are called come and buy; they see the need to buy, yet they are not like to stir till the market be over. O madness and folly to be lamented with tears of blood! Poor slothful creature, that is yet for “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” there are four things you know not.

(a) You know not the worth of a precious soul, which you are throwing away for what will not profit. Will the sweet sleep in sin quit the cost of the soul’s ruin? No, no: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matt 16:26)? Christ left the bosom of the Father, and shed His precious blood to redeem the soul...Father..would not have put his Son to that, if it had not been necessary. Satan goes about without intermission to ruin it. But what low thoughts do you entertain of it, that will not break your rest to save it from ruin?

(b) You know not the excellency of precious Christ; sleep locks up your eyes that you can not see the ravishing sight (John 1:10). The eyes of saints and angels are fired on Him, the eyes opened here by grace, are arrested by His overcoming glory. Hence are these rapturous expressions in scripture, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee” (Psalm 73:25). Zion’s crowned King is making His progress through the city where you dwell; the cry to 'Come out and behold Him!', reaches your ears (Song 3). But while He goes by, you must have yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, and so you lose the sight. The royal Bridegroom stretches forth His hand unto you, to espouse you, saying, 'Behold Me, behold Me': you open your drowsy eyes, and begin to stretch forth the hand; but sleep overcomes you, your eyes close, and your hand falls down again, and the match is marred. The chariot of the covenant that is driving on to His Father’s house, halts at your door, and you are called out; the ship is to sail to Immanuel’s land, you are called to come aboard; but yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, and all is lost.

(c) You know not the worth of precious time. The apostle will have time redeemed (Eph 5:16); but you squander it away, as a thing of no value: and working time is turned by you into sleeping time. Precious moments slip away, and you regard not though once gone they can never be recalled. What would those who are past hope, give for an hour of that time, whereof you let days, months, and years slip, without any improvement for eternity? O unhappy soul, who “knowest not in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace!”

(d) You know not the weight of the wrath of God. It is true none can have a full comprehension of it, “Who knoweth the power of Thine anger” (Psalm 90:11)? But all the elect of God get such a notion of it, as rouses them up to fly from it, “knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (II Cor 5:11). And if you had tolerable apprehensions of it, it would break off your sleep and slumber, and cause you to put forth your hands to work. Did you consider what “a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God,” and how when you fall down again into your bed of sloth, you are truly in hazard of it, it would keep you waking.

There are three things you do not observe.

First, You do not observe what speed your ruin is making, while you lie at ease; how your “judgment lingereth not, and thy damnation slumbereth not” (II Peter 2:3). The avenger of blood is pursuing you, though you are not fleeing from the wrath to come. You are like a man sleeping in a leaky ship, which is drawing water every moment, and within a little it will be full, and sink to the bottom of the sea, if he do not awake and help it. Every hour your debt is growing, the cup of wrath is filling, and fills so much the faster, as you are secure.

Secondly, You do not observe how near your destruction may be. You are like the old world, who “were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away” (Matt 24:38,39). Your spiritual lethargy and dead sleep hinders you from hearing the sound of the feet of the approaching stroke. You lie open to the most terrible surprise, to sleep the sleep of death, which you may never awake out of till in hell (Luke 12:19,20; 16:23).

Thirdly, You do not observe how utterly unable you are to ward off the blow when it comes:
“The sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites; who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burnings” (Isa 33:14).

“Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it” (Ezek 22:14). Can worm man stand before almighty God, whose patience may be worn out ere you awake? And if mercy and patience quit the field, justice will succeed into their room; and then there shall be no more sleeping, nor ease for ever.

3. Why do you go on in this soul-ruining course? Have you no respect to the calls of the gospel, none to your souls, none to eternity? Why do not you with all your might whatever your hand findeth to do; I would apply myself here to delaying sinners, to those that are yet out of Christ, and have all to do for eternity still. They are living in a state of wrath, and yet they linger, and put off their removal from Sodom. They delay repentance, and go on in their sin. I would say to you , “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep” (Prov 6:9)? I must expostulate with you on this head.

First, You young people, why do you delay repentance? why are you like the wild asses’ colts, untractable and unteachable? No doubt, you think it is too soon for you; that it may be time enough several years after this. You think repentance and seriousness suits best with the wrinkled brows, the pale face, and hollow eyes, etc.; that it is pity to spoil the bloom of youth with such work. When do you mind to repent
then? It is when you are settled in the world, or when you grow old; at least the days of youth must be over first.
But, poor fool,
(a) Is the debt of sin so small upon your head, that you must run yourself deeper in the debt of God’s justice? Do not you know that you were born a child of wrath (Eph 2:3); that you brought that into the world with you, that will damn you, if you come not to Christ? And will not that sink you deep enough in destruction, though you add no more to it, unless you repent?

(b) Is not the same holy law binding on you, since you could discern between good and evil, that is binding on the oldest alive? Have the young a liberty to sin, and to cast off the fear of God and religion, more than the old? “For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal 3:10). Here there is no exception. The follies of young men may pass; but assure yourselves, God will not pass them. “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment” (Eccl 11:9). And I doubt not, but if you saw your sinful thoughts, words, and actions, whether vain or vile, laid before you, as you must reckon for them at length, how few soever your years have been, you will see them to be more than the hairs on your heads. And I must tell you, that being yet unrenewed, and strangers to the life of grace, all your actions have been sin, “An high look, and a proud heart, and the ploughing of the wicked, is sin” (Prov 21:4). And is it not then time to repent?

(c) Who has assured you, that ever you shall see the age you speak of? Go to the church-yard, and you will see graves of all sizes, of your length and under. There are far more young corpses, than there are of those that carry gray hairs, ten to one. Most men and women are cut off before they come to old age. What has befallen others as young and flourishing as you may befall you too. And therefore, since you know not but you may die young, repent while you are young, lest in the end you find yourselves miserably disappointed.

(d) Who has best right to your youth and strength? God or the devil? God is courting you for His own gift. “Remember now Thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Eccl 12:1). Satan will labor to keep his possession. God is the first and last; and He required the first and best, the first-fruits, the first-born, the morning-sacrifice; and he requires the first of your days, and he takes pleasure therein. “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown” (Jer 2:2). And will you devote the first and best to sin and Satan, reserving the last and worst to your Creator?

(e) God commands you to repent presently, and therefore it is on the peril of your soul, that you venture to delay a moment longer. “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb 3:7,8). “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity” (Eccl 11:9,10). A sinful youth will at length make a sad soul. You know not how soon God may be provoked against you to cut you off, if you delay. Monuments of the Lord’s anger have been set up in childhood and youth, as well as in old age. Witness the children at Bethel, II Kings 2:23,24.
Let not Satan deceive you, as if there were no pleasure in religion. No; wisdom’s “ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace” (Prov 3:17). There is a sweet in religion a thousand times preferable to all the pleasures and vanities youth gads after.

Secondly, You middle-aged people, why do you delay repentance? why do not you think with yourselves seriously where you are like to take up your eternal lodging, and prepare for eternity by repentance? No doubt you think you have time enough too; but no time at present, for you have another thing ado, the care of a family upon your heads, Luke 14:20. When is your term-day of repentance? It is when you shall have more time than now, or when you grow old. But, O Sirs, How do you know that you shall ever see old age? Yea, what do you know, but, as Luke 12:20, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee”? Alas! shall men thus from time to time venture their eternal state upon a mere uncertainty? Your life is but a day, a short day, a winter-day, and you have a long journey to go; your forenoon is past already, and will you sleep on till the evening that will soon be upon you? The declining sun calls you to awake.
What reason is there, that your business in the world should shuffle out your business for eternity? Remember they had as good excuses as you, who upon the sending of them were rejected, and it was declared their day of grace was past, Luke 14:18-24. Oh have you not a soul to provide for, your eternal state to look after? Can you wonder, if, as you prefer the world to Christ now, He give you your portion in this life; and if ever the time come that you set yourself to repent, He deny you his grace, and bid you go to the gods you have served?

Consider the advantages you have now for seriousness, when the foam of youth has settled, and the infirmities of old age have not yet drawn on. O consider, and show yourselves men. You have spent your youth in vanity, and will you spend this age too that way? What is it you design for God, the dregs of your years, that age that is the sink of infirmities? And you will part with sin, when you can follow it no longer?
O Sirs, what confidence can you have, that God will accept that off your hand? “And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto Thy governor, will He be pleased with thee, or accept thy person?' saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal 1:8).

Suppose you should live till you grow old, Oh, how few are there that get grace to repent when they are old? I shall not say, there are none such; but though they be, they are very rare. Be not you encouraged to delay, because some were called at the eleventh hour (Matt 20:6); for if you mark the text, these were others than those that were standing there at the third, sixth, and ninth hour. We set no bounds to sovereignty; but as for those that live under the gospel, and spend their best days in sin and estrangedness from religion, common observation tells us, that it is God’s ordinary way to plague them with hardness of heart, when they grow old. “His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust” (Job 20:11).
Will you see the deceit of delays? When you were young, did you not put it off to this time? And now when that time is come, you are as unready as before. Delay no more then, lest you sleep the sleep of death.

Thirdly, Old people, why do you delay repentance; why is not your heart bowing to God’s call, when you are begun to bow to meet the grave? You that have always thought you had time enough all your days, you will think there is time enough yet. But when is your term-day of repentance? a death-bed, it is like. And when you come there, you will hope it will be but a sick-bed, and so drive off your work till the utmost point. But, O Sirs, May not the time past of your life suffice to have wrought the will of the flesh? Must you have yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep? Well, when you have neglected God’s call to you all your days, what confidence can you have to look for grace or mercy then? Sin, Satan, and the world shall have all your time, and you will look to God, and seek His favor, when you can do no more. O, are you not afraid, that be accomplished on you? “Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you” (Prov 1:24).

How do you know, that you will get a death-bed or sick-bed? What do you know, but that in a moment you may drop into eternity, as many have done? Death does not always send messengers to warn us of its approach. Nay, see what our Lord says expressly; “If that evil servant shall say in his heart, 'My Lord delayeth his coming'. And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not ware of; and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 24:48-51).

And is dying such an easy business..? .. But I pray you remember, you may come to die raving, without the exercise of your reason. But though you should have it to the last, I pray you consider, is the work of repentance such an easy work as to leave it till the time you can do nothing else? Will you put off turning to God till you are not able to turn yourselves on a bed, but as you are lifted? Taking heaven by storm, till your strength be gone? Crying to God, till you are not able to speak two sentences at once? Making ready for death, till it be come to your bed-side?

I exhort you all to delay repentance and salvation-work no longer.

Consider you do but mock God, and cheat yourselves by your delaying. For it is inconsistent with a sincere purpose to return from sin (I Peter 4:1-3). For he that sincerely minds to turn from sin, will presently turn from it.

Repentance is not in your power; it is God’s gift, which He gives when He will, “God hath exalted Christ with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel” (Acts 5:31). The time of God’s grace is limited; a time wherein He will be found, and when not; “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isa 55:6). Death certainly puts a period to it. But it seems to be clear, that men may out-live their day of grace: “I say unto you that none of those men which were bidden, shall taste of My supper” (Luke 14:24). Time was when Esau might have had the blessing, but then he despised it; but the time came when he could not have it; “Ye know how that afterward when he would have inherited the blessing he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Heb 12:17).

Shall men abuse mercy and grace, because the Lord waits to be gracious? Will men abuse the divine patience, because it suffers long? What a folly is it to stand off as long as we can from Him, to whom we must needs submit ourselves at length?

The time is short, the work great, and so is the opposition. Salvation-work is a great work; it is no easy thing to be a Christian; you must lay your account with all the opposition the devil, the world, and the flesh can make up; you have but an age that is as an do it in.

Your life is most uncertain. We are tenants at will, we have no tack for tomorrow (James 4:13,14). We are agreed about the necessity of repentance; the only question is, When shall it be done? God says, To-day; and tomorrow is not yours, but God’s. Return then to-day, for it may be you shall die tomorrow.

The longer you delay, the work will be the harder. For sin becomes stronge... “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jer 13:23). The devil who comes alone at first, at length his name is 'Legion'. The heart grows harder, the mind blinder, the will more perverse, the affections more carnal.

A moment’s delay may be an eternal loss, because you know not any moment that may not be your last.
God commands you to repent presently (Heb 4:7). Therefore upon your peril it is, if you delay any more.

Objection: The thief on the cross repented at the last gasp.

Answer: His repentance was one of the miracles at Christ’s death...
But though there was one that none might despair, yet there was but one that none might presume.

The other thief even died as he lived.

~ Thomas Boston

How are people saved from their sin?

How are people saved from their sin?

by Patte Smith on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:35pm ·
The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him,
yet the world did not know Him.
He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.
But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God,
who were born,
not of blood
nor of the will of the flesh
nor of the will of man,
but of God.
 ~ John 1:9-13

Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of Truth,
that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
~ James 1:18

And you also were included in Christ
when you heard the Word of Truth,
the gospel of your salvation.
Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal,
the promised Holy Spirit...
~ Ephesians 1:13

For the Word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
~ Hebrews 4:12

He chose to give us birth through the Word of truth,
that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.
~ James 1:18

Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible,
by the Word of God,
which liveth and abideth for ever.
~ I Peter 1:23

It is the uniform doctrine of the Scriptures that divine truth
is made the instrument of quickening the soul into spiritual life.
As God is ever-living, that which is produced directly by Him in the human soul,
by the instrumentality of truth,
may be expected also to endure forever.
It will not be like the offspring of human parents,
themselves mortal, liable to early and certain decay,
but may be expected to be as enduring as its ever-living Creator.
~ Albert Barnes

By no human generation, or earthly means;
but of incorruptible - a Divine and heavenly principle which is not liable to decay, nor to be affected by the changes and chances to which all sublunary things are exposed.
By the Word of God - Δια λογου ζωντος Θεου·
By the doctrine of the living God, which remaineth for ever;
which doctrine shall never change,
any more than the Source shall whence it proceeds.
~ Adam Clarke

By "the Word of God" is either meant the essential Word, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Who is concerned in regeneration as well as the Father and the Spirit;
by whose resurrection, and in consequence of it, the elect of God are begotten again;
... or the Gospel, the Word of truth,
which is made use of as a means of begetting souls again...
to show that He can give power and efficacy to His Word,
to regenerate and quicken,
and will continue to preserve and make it useful to all His saving purposes;...
Isaiah 40:8:, "the Word of our God shall stand for ever",
Christ is the Word which lives;
in Him, as such, is Life;
He has Life in Himself as God, as man, and as Mediator;
and is the Author of life, natural, spiritual, and, eternal;
and abides for ever in His person, without any change; ...
and of His kingdom there is no end...
The Gospel also may be said to live...
because it points out the way of life and salvation to sinners;
and is a means of quickening dead sinners,
and of ingenerating that faith by which men live on Christ;
and of revealing to them that righteousness which is unto justification of life;
and of supporting and maintaining spiritual life in them; and of reviving drooping saints...
"the living Word of God"..remains, and will abide;
all its promises, blessings, doctrines, and ordinances, are lasting;
it will continue in the world until all the elect of God are gathered in,
until the second coming of Christ,
and to the end of the world;
notwithstanding all the persecutions of men,
and cunning, craft of false teachers,
and all the ridicule and contempt it is treated with by mockers and scoffers:
and will abide in the effects of it, in the hearts of the saints, to all eternity...
~ John Gill

The soul must be purified,
before it can give up its own desires and indulgences.
And the Word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost,
is a means of spiritual life,
stirring up to our duty,
working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul,
till it brings to eternal life.
In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again,
observe the vanity of the natural man.
In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass,
which soon withers and dies away.
We should hear, and thus receive and love,
the holy, living Word,
and rather hazard all than lose it;
and we must banish all other things from the place due to it.
We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here,
and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.
~ Matthew Henry

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
and how shall they hear without a preacher? ...
So then faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing by the Word of God.
~ Romans 10:14,17

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus..
 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
Of this you have heard before in the Word of the truth, the gospel,  
 which has come to you,
as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you,
since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,  
 just as you learned it from Epaphras
our beloved fellow servant.
~ Colossians 1:3-8

I am the LORD, that is My Name;
And My glory I will not give to another... 
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should My Name be profaned?
I will not give My glory to another. 
 - Isaiah 42:8;48:11

How are we to ‘judge righteous judgment’ and pursue justice with aborting and post-abortive women?

How are we to ‘judge righteous judgment’ and pursue justice with aborting and post-abortive women?

by Patte Smith on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 2:10pm ·

Many people believe that judging is always negative (or maybe even 'evil'). Did you know that according to Webster's dictionary ‘to judge’ means: "to discern, to distinguish, to form an opinion, to compare facts or ideas, & perceive their agreement or disagreement, & thus to distinguish truth from falsehood."

I don't think, given the definition, that anyone would deny that kind of 'judging' is a GOOD thing, right? I would like you to consider (or perhaps re-consider) what ‘righteous judgment’, as commanded in the Bible, looks like. Judging is the explicit duty of Christian believers. Jesus taught us to 'judge righteous judgment' (John 7:24) The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to: “Judge for yourselves..The spiritual man makes judgments about all things”. (I Corinthians 2:15;10:15) So, my friend, contrary to popular opinion, God has revealed in His Word that it is our positive duty to judge. A thoughtful, caring person will be careful to JUDGE all situations, not simply from their own opinion, or the opinion of others, but according to the Word of God.

In Proverbs 31:9 the Holy Spirit commands: "Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy." Leviticus 19:15 admonishes: 'Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.'

It is my observation that we tend to show partiality toward the mothers against the poor infants by failing to 'judge righteous judgment'. Rather than protecting the innocent person in the womb, we tend to prefer the mother, withholding judgment and thereby, perverting justice. According to scripture we are forbidden to be a ‘respecter of persons’ and admonished not to treat the mightier (and guiltier) one with more respect than the pre-born person.

How do we ‘judge righteous judgment’ when we are speaking to women who are murdering (or who have already murdered) their infant by abortion? First, we do this by going before the mirror of God's Law (the commandments) ourselves, recognizing our OWN guilty sin, repenting and trusting in the Savior. Then, we must go and show this divine mirror of God’s Law to those we are blessed with the opportunity to minister to. We can do this with humility and love. It takes practice, but Jesus will help us.

Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yes, aborting and post-abortive women are our neighbors. But, their babies are our neighbors, too. We must defend the innocent little children and we do this by speaking the truth in love to their mommies and daddies. We must tell them that God does not want them to be remain in sinful ignorance and self-deception. We are to tell them that abortion is murder and to put away all thoughts of destroying their pre-born infants. If we go to the abortuary to speak to aborting mothers we must warn them to leave the killing place. We must let them know that Jesus describes people who do not obey and love Him as ‘children of the devil‘ (John 8:44-45) Jesus even called religious leaders out and said that their father was not God but Satan! We must tell them that sexual sin is damnable and murder is prohibited on punishment of death. It is our duty to judge righteously in Christ’s Name and urge sinners to be reconciled unto the Lord through repentance and faith in the finished work of the Savior. That’s our job!

We must not neglect judging righteously. We do this to bring glory to Jesus and we can be confident that He will use it to both warn the wicked and preserve the innocent.

If we truly care about the helpless infants in the womb and their mothers we will tell them the truth to their face. Did you know that God says there is a curse upon those who shed innocent blood? It’s true! Deuteronomy declares:

“Cursed is (s)he who takes a reward to slay an innocent person. 
And all God’s people say: “Amen”.
 ~ Deuteronomy 27:25

Do you know what it means to be under the curse of God? Here is a thorough and chilling description:

Curse: a divine malediction, pronouncing disfavor and doom, a call for evil to come upon a person, anathema, destined for/devoted to everlasting destruction, to be exterminated, not to be redeemed, held in abomination, objects of loathing, severely condemned, excluded from fellowship or alliance with Christ. 

Scary stuff, isn’t it? Why on earth would we allow those who are carrying infants in to slaughter, or who have already murdered a precious child, go on without this divine warning? Think about it. Every person who murders a baby by abortion does it for a ‘reward’. We know that the abortionist and clinic workers kill for money. Of course the mothers and fathers receive a financial reward too. They do not have to spend money raising the child. Recent estimates calculate upwards of $200,000 to raise a kid to age 17. So, those who destroy their children save enormous sums (which they can spend on themselves, instead of their son or daughter) when they abort. Some women abort because want to keep a boyfriend or avoid telling their parents about their pregnancy. Other women do not want to sacrifice their time and energy with a baby. We have met mothers who are unwilling to give up their ‘dreams’ of a modeling career or reaching the zenith as an exotic dancer. Let’s face it. All of those reasons fall under the category of ‘rewards’ for slaying their innocent infant. And the Bible says that there is a curse to be pronounced upon anyone who takes a reward to slay an innocent person. How unkind of us to withhold God’s sure prophesy that all fornicators and murderers will be cast into the lake of fire! (Revelation 21:1) Jesus said: “Unless you repent, you will perish!” Why would we suppress the truth of the only One who has the power to not only bring conviction to sinners, but to forgive and cleanse them them from all unrighteousness? God forbid!

“The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, & his tongue talks of judgment” Ps 37:30
“With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth” Ps 119:13
“Don’t you know that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?” 
I Corinthians 6:3
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:11

But, we must ask the question: What does the Bible say is the God-given standard by which we are to judge? Isaiah 8:20 helps us to know where to go for eternal standards of right and wrong: “To the Law (the ten commandments) and to the Testimony (this is referring to the holy scriptures, not to our own personal 'testimony'): if they do not speak according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” Therefore, let us be careful to be honest with ourselves and with others and ‘judge righteous judgment’. May we be faithful to share the commandments and warnings of the Lord, for it is by the Law of God that He brings the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20) It is actually God’s kindness that provides a way of escape from His judgment through the beautiful person, perfect work and saving Blood of Jesus Christ. Suppressing the truth of the righteous requirements of God reasonable Law and His promise of eternal punishment to the disobedient might ‘seem’ like kindness, but it is, in fact, obscuring God’s kindness. Indeed, it is the supreme kindness of God that brings awareness of sin to the sinner, that she might flee from the wrath to come, repent and cry out to Jesus before it is too late. Please, for the love of Christ and of sinners and their children, do not leave off judging righteous judgment. Beloved, do not be ashamed to speak the Law and the grace of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe it!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
for it is the power of God unto salvation
to everyone who believes..
~ Romans 1:16)

Radical considerations ...

Radical considerations ...

by Patte Smith on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 9:55am ·

Tyranny of the Good:
    One of the worst enemies of Christians can be good things in the church.

The Gospel Misunderstood:
    The gospel that saves us from work saves us to work.

The Word does the work.

We are selfless followers of a self-centered God.

What if the Bible is intended not only to dictate our theology but also to determine our methodology?

from Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God
 by David Platt

♥ When a Woman Follows Jesus ♥

♥ When a Woman Follows Jesus ♥

by Patte Smith on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 1:21pm ·

You see the back of her
Because she faces Jesus.

You see her while she walks away
Because she follows Jesus.
You see her on a lonely road
Because few find
The narrow way that leads to life.
You see her, perhaps, half-dead
Because she is in the business
Of dying everyday.
You see her forsaken
Because she has left all
to follow Him.
You see her struggle along the way
Because she takes up her cross.
You see her lost
Because she loses her life
To be found by Life.
You see her in a wilderness
Because that’s where God
Plants vineyards.
~ Following Jesus
by Hillary McFarland

Who was St Patrick anyway?

Who was St Patrick anyway?

by Patte Smith on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 10:07am ·

‎I am Patrick,
yes a sinner and indeed untaught;
yet I am established here in Ireland..
I am certain in my heart
that "all that I am," I have received from God.
So I live among barbarous tribes,
a stranger and exile
for the love of God.†

Born: 385
Died: 461

In anticipation of bringing the gospel to the St Patrick's Day festivities here in Raleigh on Saturday, I wanted to share some delightful information on the man known as "St Patrick".

Did you know that Patrick was not an Irishman? He was actually a missionary to the Irish to in the A.D. 400s.
Saint Patrick's real name was Maewyn Succat. For his first 16 years, Maewyn lived a normal life as the son of a wealthy landowner and magistrate in Britain. Then, at 16 Maewyn was captured near his home in what is now known as Scotland during a pirate raid on his village. He was brought to Ireland and sold as a slave to Druids. Maewyn confesses that he was not not a Christian at the time of his abduction, being a thoughtless, careless teen. He says: "I was taken captive before I knew what I should desire and what I should shun".

During his six years of captivity to a chieftain Maewyn was a shepherd on the hills of Antrim. Patrick relates in his "Confessio" that while tending the flocks his heart was slowing warmed and he came to truly trust in Jesus Christ. He writes that he prayed many times a day;
and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me, and the spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me, such as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent within me.

Patrick gives glory to Christ for saving his soul:

Before I was humiliated
I was like a stone that lies in deep mud,
and He who is mighty came
and in His compassion raised me up
and placed me on the top of the wall.
On your walls..I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance,
take no rest..
~ Isaiah 62:6

After Maewyn was converted he escaped by ship and returned to his family. He went on to receive Christian training and was ordained. It was then that he adopted the name Patrick.

Patrick sensed a clear call to return to the country of his bondage to bring the way of salvation in Jesus Christ to the Irish pagans. Though his superiors protested, Patrick would not relent, saying: "If I be worthy, I live for my God to teach the heathen, even though they may despise me". Patrick did go back to Ireland and carried on his mission there for thirty years, bearing much fruit amongst the heathen. Patrick is said to have died in his mission field on March 17, the day commemorated as St. Patrick's Day.

Interesting fact:

The shamrock is a traditional symbol because Saint Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Originally a Catholic holy day St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a secular holiday.
The first St. Patrick's Day in America was celebrated in Boston in 1737.

Here are some quotes from Patrick's writings:

Christ beside me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me.
~ St Patrick

No one should ever say that it was my ignorance if I did or showed forth anything however small according to God's good pleasure; but let this be your conclusion and let it so be thought, that - as is the perfect truth - it was the gift of God.
Saint Patrick

That which I have set out in Latin is not my words but the words of God and of apostles and prophets, who of course have never lied. He who believes shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be damned.
God has spoken.
Saint Patrick

The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins.
Saint Patrick

I am Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and despised in the eyes of many.
Saint Patrick

If I be worthy, I live for my God to teach the heathen, even though they may despise me.
Saint Patrick

For a wonderful teaching on the real St Patrick watch this 56 minute video produced by Berean Beacon:

Beware of the evil person

Beware of the evil person

by Patte Smith on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 1:03pm ·

Being filled with all unrighteousness,
fornication, wickedness, covetousness,
maliciousness; full of envy, murder,
debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
backbiters, haters of God, despiteful,
proud, boasters, inventors of evil things,
disobedient to parents,
foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless...
For those who are self-seeking
and who reject the truth and follow evil,
there will be wrath and anger.
~ Romans 1:29-31;2:8

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Avoid such people.
~ II Timothy 3:2-5

 But if you have bitter jealousy
and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not boast and be false to the truth.
Who is wise and understanding among you?
By his good conduct let him show his works
in the meekness of wisdom.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there will be disorder and every vile practice
~ James 3:14-16

Beware of evil in yourselves and in others.
Evil people exhibit a profound absence of empathy. The victims of an evil person are considered objects to be controlled or destroyed. Evil views others as little (or nothing) more than a service to themselves. However, an evil person often has the ability to masterfully portray his or her motives and behavior as 'innocent'.

Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Jeremiah 6:15;8:12

A second attribute of evil is shamelessness. The experience of legitimate shame is a gift of God's common grace. It can provide exposure of one’s guilt and is meant to act a potent deterrent to proceeding in a shameless direction. Evil people, however, refuse to feel ashamed. Evil almost always works to attempt to shame OTHERS, especially those who expose their guilt. They want to gouge out the eyes that see the truth about them, often trying to shame or mock their accusers.

The evil person likes to portray false contrition to lull his/her victim to sleep, so that it can continue to dominate, abuse and, potentially, destroy his/her prey.

One of the greatest gifts one can give a person inclined towards evil is to frustrate their attempts to trick, fool, beguile, misuse, dominate and destroy others.

Romans 1:25 explains how human beings are primed by their own sin nature to be subject to submitting to the dominion of evil;

"... because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen."

Evil (in ourselves and in others) will not be conquered as long as our hearts live for sensual pleasure, to obtain immediate relief (instant gratification) or escape profound loss. We must learn, by the Holy Spirit, to be totally dependent upon Christ, and Christ alone, in order to escape the sway and bondage of evil.
We must live, first and foremost, to love, serve, please and bring glory to the Savior. Then, we will begin to learn what it means to really LOVE sinners, including the profoundly evil people who have us charmed, mesmerized or to whom we are addicted.

We must be surrendered in holy devotion and worship Jesus only, rather than worshiping and serving creatures and self. And then, as Dan Allender writes: "Only when we have little or nothing to lose will we be willing to love.”

The first examples that come to mind as examples of evil people are those who sexually abuse children. I know of fathers, step-fathers, uncles and grandfathers who molested girls in their family for many years. When confronted with their evil the molesters often portray themselves as innocent and cast aspersions on their victims.

I know women who are beguiled by lovers who like to consider themselves 'heroic' (perhaps even 'spiritual') but who are in truth, evil, ruthless men who care for no one but themselves. The men I am thinking of are 'religious' and play the 'Christian' card, using scriptures to continue their domination.

In order for these women to break the bondage to these men (which is also the bondage of their OWN SIN, because they are worshiping MAN instead of God) they need to face the truth about the machinations (modus operandi) of evil. We must remember that Satan presents himself as an "angel of light" & evil has the tendency to do the very same thing.

And, of course, as we read these descriptions of evil we cannot deny that they fit many of the abortion-bound mothers (fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers and accomplices) we are meeting in lines outside of the killing place. Half of them have already murdered one (or more) babies previously. They deny (or assuage) their personal guilt and seek to make themselves out to be justified in pre-meditating and violently attacking an innocent person in the womb because of what they are "going through". They portray themselves as 'victims' of circumstance, rather than willfully evil.

These notes are thoughts on much of what I learned about evil people from Dan Allender's book Bold Love. It's an EXCELLENT book and I highly recommend it. Here's another quote from Allender which I love:
Godly love exposes darkness with a with a strength that reveals God's righteousness
and a tender mercy that invites the heart to repent & receive forgiveness..
Love does not merely proffer forgiveness;
it must expose the human bent to justify oneself and blame the victim while feeling little or no remorse. Oddly, love exposes first one's own proclivity to evil and sin
in order to clarify that no one has escaped the great divide between the heart and God.
(Matthew 5:21-28)