Thursday, November 30, 2006

Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations

During one of John Piper's sermons this site was mentioned:
I think it is important that we go there and have a long and thorough look at the facts.

This is what they say:

Joshua Project
Our Purpose ...
to spread a passion for the supremacy of God among all unreached peoples.
Our Mission ...
to highlight the people groups of the world that have the least Christian presence in their midst and to encourage pioneer church-planting movements among every ethnic people group.
Our Rationale ...
"This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations and then the end will come."
Matt 24:14

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
(Joh 3:16-17)
It is such privilege - to be loved by God. The safety of this love is indescribable, yet certain and true, in every step of my life. A security never felt before, a conviction of things to come, of things promised and written, unfailing love of the Father.
It is not only knowledge. It is a part of my existence, experienced with every fiber of my being, helping me in the times of trial, in the times of hardship, in the times of sorrow. Always with me, covering me and keeping me safe.
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."
(Joh 17:23-26)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Faith without works is dead

Reading, reading, reading...
Today I wandered to a "grace forum" and found there a discussion of "lordship salvation". With one noble exception, everybody there was condemning the very idea of works resulting from faith. Call me stupid, but how can it be possible? This one person in favor of biblical understanding of the subject was beating around the bush, receiving no appreciation at all, being compared to a Roman Catholic even.
Why is it so difficult to take Jesus as our Lord? Is it the responsibility people are avoiding as long as possible? They regard themselves as justified, and hence free to do whatever they please? Is it the right, biblical approach?
All these questions are rhetoric, of course I know the answers to them. But it amazes me that such an obvious truth is not seen!
Grace is not cheap. To take it for granted is a sin, to disrespect its consequences is playing with God's wrath.
Jesus died for each of us who claim His Grace. Died a terrible death, so that we may live, so that we do not need to die. How can we reject Him and His Leadership, and His Lordship? On what basis is this allowed or even welcome?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"--and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
(Jam 2:14-26)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Proud and Humble

Can these two terms be reconciled?

The first one refers to how unsaved people see us, Christians, professing our faith, being unashamed of the gospel, being sure of our own salvation and of the certainty of God's Promises. In their eyes we should be insecure, shaky and not so certain whether there only IS one right way. In this world poisoned by various sects and cults anybody saying that he KNOWS is immediately labeled 'sect-member'. "Thank you", JWs :/

So we are proud. Not good. Moreover, proud of being saved already. Say it to a catholic, and you have bought yourself a fierce enemy. He has been struggling with his whole life to earn salvation =MAYBE=, and here you come and tell him that you ARE saved. He cannot stand it. You are a cheater, a liar, an idiot. You cannot possibly understand Scriptures on your own, since his priests and bishops must know better. Right? So do not come to him with your "by faith alone" phrase because you irritate him.
And it goes on...

We get labels. We are 'fundies', 'sectarians', 'heretics', 'lost brothers', 'simplicity seekers', 'ignorants' - oh my, especially if you dare to believe God in the Bible, that He did create everything in SIX days...
You know, I was one of those 'fighting feminists'. Everybody knew it. I really repented of that. They cannot recognize me and my views now. They think I lost my mind. I DO NOT CARE.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
(Rom 1:16)
If that is pride, let it be so.

But the real life of a believer is a life in humbleness. As hard as it is to imagine, God chose me, a sinful creature, and by His Grace saved me forever. Can I add anything to it? Can I by any means give myself some credit? No!
What else can I do than being humbled by God's Gift? I certainly did not deserve it... And the responsibility flowing out of it is overwhelming. I cannot fulfill the expectations on my own, I must put my trust in God. He and only He is able to sustain me and provide me with everything He wants me to do. It makes me very humble, grateful, prayerful.
Grace. What a wonderful word.
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
(Joh 1:16)

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Over the mountains so bleak and so cold,
Far from the beautiful city of gold;
Lost ones are straying because you and I
Never have told them a Savior is nigh.


O, won’t somebody tell them,
Tell them of Calvary’s tree;
Tell them the story of Jesus,
What a great Savior is He!

Lost ones are groping in sin’s awful night,
Falling and dying away from the right;
Many the message of Christ never heard,
Lost ones for whom no one ever has cared.


Speed with the message, oh, speed in His Name,
Hasten the story of Christ to proclaim!
Hasten to bring back the fallen and lost,
Speed with the message, whatever the cost!


Words: Will­iam C. Poole (1875-1949).
Music: An­na G. Lam­bert

Saturday, November 25, 2006

2Co 6:1-10 - My Weekend Read

This passage of Scripture fills me with great comfort and joy. Pauline description of his ministry is a tribute to the Gospel of Jesus, a tribute to the Truth and to the Doctrine. It is a guide of how to be a professing Christian, rejoicing in the obstacles and hardships, trusting in the promises, serving God with all your heart.
I enclose Henry's commentary below the text.
(1) Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
(2) For he says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
(3) We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,
(4) but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,
(5) beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;
(6) by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;
(7) by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;
(8) through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;
(9) as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed;
(10) as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

" The gospel is a word of grace sounding in our ears. The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the proper time to accept these offers.
The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be. We now enjoy a day of grace; then let all be careful not to neglect it. Ministers of the gospel should look upon themselves as God's servants, and act in every thing suitably to that character.
The apostle did so, by much patience in afflictions, by acting from good principles, and by due temper and behaviour. Believers, in this world, need the grace of God, to arm them against temptations, so as to bear the good report of men without pride; and so as to bear their reproaches with patience. They have nothing in themselves, but possess all things in Christ. Of such differences is a Christian's life made up, and through such a variety of conditions and reports, is our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all things to approve ourselves to God.
The gospel, when faithfully preached, and fully received, betters the condition even of the poorest. They save what before they riotously spent, and diligently employ their time to useful purposes. They save and gain by religion, and thus are made rich, both for the world to come and for this, when compared with their sinful, profligate state, before they received the gospel. "

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Friday, November 24, 2006

Form of Sound Words

The reading of John MacArthur books is an enormous feast and inspiration to me. An amazing number of questions have got the clear answers and I really can see the importance of the proper and faithful preaching of God's Word.

The watered-down Gospel, pleasing to the ear of a listener, calling him to believing, forgetting to call him to repentance, does not produce good fruit. So far, I have considered it to be an intellectual debate only, but I am beginning to see that it is a harsh reality of evangelism today, right around me, close to my own life, in the people I know and love.

The antinomian theology of salvation without repentance is, in fact, producing nominal Christians, having nothing in common with Christ. The erroneous teachings that twist the Gospel, allow for them to roll in sin and still claim being saved - somehow.

Is a person saved, when she or he does not show it with the whole life? Is the person saved, when Jesus takes the last place in his thoughts? Is the person saved, when he can say that he is not interested in meeting with other Christians? Is a person saved, if he says that looking up verses in Scriptures is unnecessary?

I wonder...

The world blames Christianity for many terrible deeds throughout our history. Many atrocities have been committed in the name of Christ. It is not easy to listen to these accusations and not feel ashamed. But when I try to analyse the matter closely, I can not avoid seeing the apparent misunderstanding and ignorance on both sides - the critics and the criticized alike.

What do real Bible Believers stand responsible for? If there is something, it is that we do not preach the Gospel loud and clear, constantly, faithfully, to all. It is that we allow for false teachers to spread their lies as we stand by. False teachers, false teachings, rotten fruit. The world blames us (not being aware of the differences between us and false teachers). And justly so.

I read yesterday's newspaper. An article about a young girl, who died of an overdose of medicine, in the mental institution, only 18 years old. She had not been well for a long time. She lost her faith in people, she lost her hope in her doctors.

Her parents stand shocked and broken. I cannot imagine their pain, being a parent myself.

But in this pain they have found a scape goat. Are you ready to find out who the scape goat is?

"The father blames also himself and the christian pattern in which she was raised, especially the feeling of guilt he has always felt and that has been strengthened by the protestant heritage. It was probably that - it made her burdened with a huge amount of guilt, not only of her own weakness, but also for the evil of the whole world, as if she herself were responsible for it."

See? Christianity is to blame. Analyse that, because there is a very important lesson in it, for every one of us. As long as we stand still and passively allow for the mishandling of God's Word, these things shall happen. I truly believe that her spiritual teachers meant well. I truly believe that her parents raised her the best they could. But anyway, the result is disastrous - drugs, piercings, death.

Was the Word presented truthfully to them? Most certainly not, if they blame her death on it!

The same newspaper, the same page, another article. This time about the Tibetan way of life and death.
"Our human existence is but an unbroken exchange between birth, death and reincarnation. We live many lives!"

Well, if one may twist the Gospel of Christ to the extent that suicidal behaviors are blamed on it, why not preaching the words of Buddha? Anything goes? As long it is NOT the form of sound words...

Sound words are offensive. They claim your life in exchange for the life with Him. It is not popular. It does not pay much money. It does not give status.

But if you are saved by His Grace, Chosen to be His servant, you have to obey, you feel the desire to obey, no matter the cost.

Think about those two examples. Examine your heart. Pray.

I want to express my gratitude to Rand for the inspiration obtained after listening to his sermons.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Give Thanks to the LORD

1Ch 16:8-14
(8) Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
(9) Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
(10) Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
(11) Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
(12) Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
(13) O offspring of Israel his servant, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
(14) He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.

1Ch 16:34-35
(34) Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
(35) Say also: "Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.

Psa 7:17
(17) I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

Psa 28:7
(7) The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Psa 30:4-5
(4) Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
(5) For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psa 92:1-4
(1) A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath. It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
(2) to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
(3) to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.
(4) For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

1Co 15:57-58
(57) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(58) Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

2Th 2:13
(13) But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

Here in Sweden Thanksgiving is a foreign Holiday.
It is probably much more popular to adopt pagan feasts than this one. Besides, it is derived from the American history, from the very first settlers, so there is nothing universal in this celebration. However, giving thanks to the Lord is good any time, anywhere, so I gathered these several texts from the Bible to make them a read for Thursday.
And - I want to wish all of You, American Christians - a very happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Counting my Blessings

I am, counting them and finding them countless, coming in abundance, today especially. There is so much I am thankful to the Lord for...
Small things, simple things, everyday things, but also big matters. And trials, and hardships...
Yesterday for example, a wonderful news that someone is a believer, someone I would never even consider prone to this change. Praise the Lord!
And my son today, who printed out a decent chunk of an on-line Bible and declared that he wants to learn about God and be a good person. Completely out of the blue.
I am so blessed!
And even the trials are for good. As these words of a song say:

Lord, refine our souls
let the testing of our faith
produce the purest gold
purify our hearts
'til this truth we clearly see
we can never be Your servants,
servants without scars

(from Justice by Steve Camp)

We are not meant to live easily just because we have been saved. God chooses His labourers, his servants, his friends, wisely and deliberately. It is a great honor, and a great responsibility. It is the greatest blessing of all - to belong to His elect.
Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord GOD, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever."
(2Sa 7:29)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How Simple is Simple?

In other words - what grade of complexity is required for a theology to find the approval of the ornate human religion?
Ceremonial complexity is very well taken by masses. Multiple layers of doctrinal teachings, sometimes contradictory to one another and absurd, but seemingly deep, find their adherents easily. The more the better?
Is God a God of confusion? Because confusion is what comes out as the result of unnecessary complexity.
Take, for example, the ever-present discussion about this stumbling stone of 'tradition' versus Scripture. While it is perfectly clear to define Scripture (well, several books give-or-take), the question about tradition remains answered vaguely, as there exists no precise definition or enumeration of the constituents. Roman Church supports its teachings on 'tradition', yet is incapable of defining it!
I know, the natural answer here would be the writings of Church Fathers, etc, but when you try to pin the lot down, it becomes very evasive. Confusing? You bet. A colossus on clay legs? Definitely.
What I consider the absolute strength of the Church of the Living God is the exactness and clarity of doctrine, based upon the agreement on the foundation of the teachings. However scornful may the Church of Rome pose itself against Protestantism, there is the clear ground of the Five Solas, as opposed to the jungle of Catholic tradition.
I am not a theologian. I am just a new-born Christian with a history of many mistakes before. But I will stand here:
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
(Jud 1:3-4)

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Beauty of It

he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'
(Luk 8:10)

And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
(Mat 13:11)

Mysteries (Scofield)

A "mystery" in Scripture is a previously hidden truth, now divinely revealed; but in which a supernatural element still remains despite the revelation. The greater mysteries are:

1) The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (Mat_13:3-50).

(2) the mystery of Israel's blindness during this age (Rom_11:25) (with context);

(3) the mystery of the translation of living saints at the end of this age (1Co_15:51-52); (1Th_4:14-17).

(4) the mystery of New Testament church as one body composed of Jew and Gentile (Eph_3:1-11); (Rom_16:25); (Eph_6:19); (Col_4:3).

(5) the mystery of the church as the bride of Christ (Eph_5:28-32).

(6) the mystery of the inliving Christ (Gal_2:20); (Col_1:26-27).

(7) the "mystery of God even Christ," that is, Christ as the incarnate fullness of the Godhead embodied, in whom all the divine wisdom for man subsists (Col_2:2); (Col_2:9); (1Co_2:7).

(8) the mystery of the processes by which godlikeness is restored to man (1Ti_3:16).

(9) the mystery of iniquity (2Th_2:7); (Mat_13:33).

(10) the mystery of the seven stars (Rev_1:20).

(11) the mystery of Babylon (Rev_17:5); (Rev_17:7).

Well, before ... you know, before obtaining Grace, I considered the Bible a thick book of contradictions and fables. An old book, somewhat strange, somewhat scary, but belonging to the past together with other treasures of human development.
My personal experience with the Roman Catholic Church did not improve and develop this childish understanding of Scriptures. I do not attempt to judge - maybe it is different nowadays, maybe the children and youngsters are more biblicaly trained than before, but from what I hear, this horse is still dead, and in spite of this predicament there are many deceived souls clinging to its tail hoping to be borne
to heaven by it.
Anyway, this horse was already dead long ago. It does not help when its riders try to revive it with their theology of works and offers. It does not help when popularity numbers shoot up because of an ever-travelling (late) pope. It is a straw fire - quick and short. You cannot even get burned by it.
I am in no way a wise enough person to debate upon the reasons. But this one reason is obvious:
And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
(Mat 13:11)

Because how can one
otherwise explain the complete stubbornness and complete blindness of romanists when they are confronted with the pure message of the Gospel of Jesus?
'Yes', they say, 'we see it, but it is not enough to persuade us.'
Yes, they see the blasphemy, they see the errors, they see the corruption, but they are still clinging to that dead horse.

You know, this horse is dead, but oh, how powerful still. Before it died, it put a spell on them, a spell of fear and anathema, a spell of blind obedience to a man and his tradition.

We have to pray for their freedom. Reviving this horse means whipping him off of all sediments of unbiblical teachings. But God is mighty and able, capable of dragging the horse to the Cross.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Reading for Sunday

Eph 2:1-22
(1) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
(2) in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--
(3) among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
(4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
(5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--
(6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
(7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
(8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
(9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(11) Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands--
(12) remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
(13) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
(14) For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
(15) by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
(16) and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
(17) And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
(18) For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
(19) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
(20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
(21) in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
(22) In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

For the detailed explanation of this passage see "The Gospel according to the Apostles" by John MacArthur.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Psychology or Theology?

One may put it another way: humanism or theism?
What is wrong in humanism? Well, to think about it, especially from a human (sic!) perspective, nothing is wrong with it. According to this point of view we are the highest link in the evolutionary chain of biological development and therefore have the right to glorify ourselves and justify everything we do. To think that we have come into being from some simple organism (to call any organism 'simple' is ridiculous, but anyway), developed throughout millions of years and multiple stages, to finally? achieve being human, must entitle us to some pride and rights. If this is true... But let us assume it is true. Just for a moment, all right?
So what makes us think that the development ends here? If the evolution is true, we are just as much inferior to some species millions years in the future as bacteria are inferior to us. Do we have anything to be proud of, then? Just a link in a chain, nothing more, a passing fancy of chance and time. What is the purpose of all the struggles and efforts? To fade away and go into oblivion, without goal, without meaning, without sense. No wonder so many believers in evolution get depressed. I would be pretty down myself, too, with that perspective in mind.
° Enters psychology, attempting to explain the way we think, interact and function.
° Enters psychiatry, taking care of broken natural men and women.
° Enter all sorts of ideologies, offering 'better' world to those who shall follow their teachings.
But to what avail, really? Everything is over in some 80 years, you get born, you live, you reproduce (if you are lucky enough), and you die. Finito. And you know what is so tragic about this picture? the fact that human rejection of God left a man alone and desperate, yet stubborn and pig-headed enough to rather choose death than life.

So which is it then? Humanism or theism?

First a very rational question, almost a selfish one: what do you have to lose by choosing theism? The truth, already articulated by Pascal, is that you have nothing to lose, but everything to win. For if the existence of God is true, you win eternal life, but if God does not exist, you lose nothing, because you will die regardless (the physical death). Call it the pragmatism of believers, IMO a very straightforward argument if any other argument fails.

For me there is more. Much more.
Heb 11:1

(ALT) Now faith is [the] assurance [or, substance] of [things] being hoped for [or, being confidently expected], [the] confident assurance [or, proof] of things not seen.

(ASV) Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.

(Bibeln) Men tron är en fast tillförsikt om det som man hoppas, en övertygelse om ting som man icke ser.

(ESV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

(ISV) Now faith is the assurance of things we hope for, the certainty of things we cannot see.

(KJV+) Now1161 faith4102 is2076 the substance5287 of things hoped for,1679 the evidence1650 of things4229 not3756 seen.991

(KJVR) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

(LITV) Now faith is the essence of things being hoped, the evidence of things not having been seen.

(MKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

(PBG) A wiara jest gruntem tych rzeczy, których się spodziewamy i dowodem rzeczy niewidzialnych.

Have a good Saturday!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Internet's effect on sharing the Gospel in far away places

Originally posted on yesterday. I do not know what I am doing right, but they have graciously included me to their group of authors. I can only humbly say "Thank You", with those words in mind:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
(Col 3:23-24)

We are placed here and now. What I mean is that we live in a global village, interconnected and vibrant, awake 24 hours a day, having almost no boundaries in communications among its inhabitants.

I had a lecture on communication model for my students the other day, telling them about the sender, the channel and the receiver. The basics are the same as they have always been, the only difference now being the technology making things both easier and more difficult. The paradox of development.

Can we assume that this medium, Internet, is every man's tool? Certainly not. But it is the tool of the fortunate ones, living in the 'better' part of the village, having more opportunities and definitely more advantages. Can they be reached by the Word of God? Do they ever take time to stop and contemplate the possibility of Creation and Salvation?

The facts show that many young (and some older) people of today are on-line, writing, blogging and preaching the Gospel. They have come to the realization that Internet is as good a way as any to do just that. And who do they reach? Their peers, who surf the web in search for entertainment or information, or both, and who gladly stop to read an informative and modern site about God. Those peers often live far away, and would never hear about God in some other way. They may go on to other places on the web and never come back, but the seed of the Word is planted.

What comes to mind is a new bridge metaphor, the way of reaching people with the most important Message of all.

Very detailed research of the bridge is to be found on Evangelism:guide to internet web outreach, where we may get some practical advice on how to reach people on the Internet. it may be through a testimony, or links to 'meaning of life', or parable meanings, or explaining the Gospel, among other things.

Is it easy? No. Is it profitable :-)? Most assuredly not! It is not meant to be -

freely ye have received, freely give.
(Mat 10:8b)

It would be interesting to see some statistics on how many brothers and sisters in Christ have been saved thanks to this bridge. I, for one, belong to this group. We may be not many, but even one lost sheep is loved dearly by the Father. And think - what if we are many? Many, who otherwise would remain in darkness.

Reading about the Gospel is not the only approach. The new technology provides the surfers with the multimedia messages in abundance.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
(Rom 10:17)

Sermonaudio is one of many excellent selections if looking for preaching. Can it get any better, than to listen to variety of sermons in the privacy of your own home, especially when you are not sure whether you have made right choices?

Does it work? It does. Read this wonderful testimony of a Polish girl, who came to Christ via Internet, just like me.

Does this mean that we may abandon the traditional evangelization? No. It only means that we have gotten a powerful new tool. Let us use it wisely, for His Glory.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Don't Tell them Jesus Loves them

Don't tell them Jesus loves them till you're ready to love them too
Till your heart breaks from the sorrow and the pain they're going through
With a life full of compassion may we do what we must do
Don't tell them Jesus loves them till you're ready to love them too

Right on the spot, this song today in my car. And then, during the day, a cry for help. Genuine cry, a broken heart, and a sea of despair.
This was the moment in my life when the world stopped and nothing was more important than being there and listen. Because of obvious reasons I cannot go into the details, but I ask you to join me in praying for this person and for the solution to the problems. Huge problems, believe me. So I need your support in my prayers.
And you know what? I feel truly blessed today. It is a great privilege to gain such trust from somebody.
And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
(Luk 10:27)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Body

My morning read:
1Co 12:1-31
(1) Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.
(2) You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.
(3) Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus is accursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except in the Holy Spirit.
(4) Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
(5) and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
(6) and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
(7) To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
(8) To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
(9) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
(10) to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
(11) All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
(12) For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
(13) For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
(14) For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
(15) If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
(16) And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
(17) If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
(18) But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
(19) If all were a single member, where would the body be?
(20) As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
(21) The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
(22) On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
(23) and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
(24) which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,
(25) that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
(26) If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
(27) Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
(28) And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
(29) Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
(30) Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
(31) But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Great simplicity in this description. Concise, straightforward, taking into account the common knowledge of every human being. What can explain the interdependence of every one of us in the Church better than your own physical experience of your own body?
Do you recognize this quotation?
Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

One of my favorite books, films... Even the least prominent brother or sister matters. His or her pain is my pain as well as yours. His or her joy is mine and yours, too.
Just some thoughts for the next day...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fruit of Grace

The wicked desires the net of evils; but the root of the righteous yields fruit.
(Pro 12:12)
Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah, and Jehovah is his trust. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters; it sends out its roots by the river, and it shall not fear when the heat comes, but its foliage shall be green; and he is not worried in the year of drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit.
(Jer 17:7-8)
And now also, the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
(Mat 3:10)
Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
(Mat 7:17-19)
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit.
(Mat 12:33)
But that sown on the good ground is this: he who hears the Word and understands; who also bears fruit and produces one truly a hundredfold; and one sixty; and one thirty.
(Mat 13:23)
For a good tree does not bring forth corrupt fruit, neither does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.
(Luk 6:43-44)
I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
(Joh 15:5)
So, my brothers, you also have become dead to the law by the body of Christ so that you should be married to Another, even to Him raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God.
(Rom 7:4)

Coincidentally, the latest short series of sermons in my church has been preached on the very subject. And today I finished reading appendixes to "The Gospel According to Jesus", and among other things found this list of verses, so I humbly repeated them after John F. MacArthur, from MKJV.

Rand called me "a John MacArthur/John Piper type Christian". I kind of like this description :). Rand, what did You really mean?
Anyway, right now I have many thoughts and considerations, and I am beginning to grasp the depth, the length, and the complexity of this crucible of Grace The Lord put me in. The refining process has just started. What I can do now is to submit myself humbly to it and pray for many fruitful years in the oven of God's Love.
For His Glory.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Husband and Wife

  • Pro 5:18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
  • Pro 6:29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.
  • Pro 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
  • Pro 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
  • Pro 19:13 A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
  • Pro 19:14 House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
  • Pro 21:9 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
  • Pro 27:15 A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
  • Pro 31:10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
  • Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

A real problem here...

there are practically NO verses describing the way a good husband should be like.
Now I am shocked - not :).

So what does it mean then? That there are no demands as far as a husband is concerned, at least not from the pages of the writers of Proverbs? I am not sure.

But there is something I can see that is very edifying to a wife, if we look closely. Why? Because so much depends on the woman. Look at those verses and examine them in depth. Everything depends on the wife. Isn't it good news? I know, I know, it may be an irony in the eyes of the world, but a Christian wife can be proud. We are not some lesser beings, inferior people, slaves to our husbands. We are essential for their well-being, we are proof that the marriage is God-blessed, we are the the foundation of his home. Isn't it awesome? To think that so much depends on us?

I believe we should cherish this responsibility and thank God for it, and remember about it every time some humanist tries to make us feel stupid and unworthy.

This is the true feminism of the Bible, in my very humble opinion.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Desire to Gather

What struck me today was that many people consider Christians weak and unable to live independently, and ascribing our urge of seeking the like-minded believers to these alleged shortcomings.
And not only that; the very desire we have to seek God and His Kingdom supposedly results from our inability to break ourselves loose from the limitations of religion and theology. In other words - we are narrow-minded, stupid individuals, who are afraid to think on their own.
Pretty nice picture, isn't it?
Of course this is the consequence of the very simple truth: the world does not have a clue what Christianity is all about. And the world does not want to know, either. (But that would be another subject.)
Yet one thing is true: we want to get together with other believers, and this for a variety of reasons.

Prophecy says so, for one. The Lord Himself shall gather His elect:
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
(Mat 13:30)
And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
(Mat 24:31)
His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
(Luk 3:17)
and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
(Joh 11:52)

We are to gather with the Lord:
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."
(Mat 18:20)
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
(Luk 11:23)

We are to gather to hear the Word:
And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.
(Mar 2:2)
So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.
(Act 15:30)
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
(Act 20:7)

We are to gather to pray:
When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
(Act 12:12)

We are to gather to witness:
And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
(Act 14:27)

We are to gather to support one another in faith and doctrine:
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
(2Th 2:1-2)

If this is weakness, let me be weak. If this is dependence, let me be dependent for everything. If this is limitation, let me diminish to nothing before You, oh Lord, because only You are strong and mighty.

A Christian does not have to depend on his own strength. He knows it means nothing, and he gladly seeks God's helping hand to lift him from the ground of despair and misery.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


A very short informative post.
I played with the blog today, and added some things to it. If you want to, you can scroll down - or stop here -

Check out my Frappr!

and mark your position on the map.
I marked mine :)

Marriage - According to God

1Pe 3:1-7
(1) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives--
(2) when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
(3) Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing--
(4) but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
(5) For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands,
(6) as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
(7) Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

This really is simple and straightforward. And yet the world is fervently trying to invent other ways for marriage. Are those ways successful? Do they bring happiness and peace to the families?
Equality, for one. Everything is supposed to be fair and just, for the sake of equal treatment.
  • I wash the dishes today, you wash the dishes tomorrow.
  • If you do not, I will be mad at you.
  • If you are mad back at me, we fight.
  • When we fight, our children listen and get scared.
  • We calm the children, we make up, we kiss and hug, but we carry the grudge.
  • When we fight next time, we take this grudge and use it against each other.
  • We call friends and complain.
  • We cry alone in some corner.
  • We go out and meet somebody new.
  • We have 'an affair'.
  • Our spouse finds out.
  • We fight like crazy.
  • Children are hurt, we are hurt, we separate, we kill the marriage.
Have you seen the pattern in the working? I have... only the 'children'-part was not there, all the rest was. And let me tell you: it is a pain beyond belief. It is the pain of hurting pride, of disappointment, of shattered dreams, of emptiness, of wanting to die and cease to hurt so much.
There is no other way to make the marriage work other than the God's way.

This entry is not a result of a crisis in my private life. On the contrary, the more I follow the divine teachings, the better my marriage becomes in the process. Rather, I wrote it to make myself even more aware of what I could lose and what I can gain. If only more people understood those truths...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Whichever Religion is Good (???)

"Every religion is good, if one observes its rules and if it satisfies you, and if it gives you the sense of security."

Easy, this is not my new view on religion. This is something a relative of mine told me today, a devout Catholic, a good person, whom I love dearly. Am I shocked? Not at all. Am I surprised? No, I have lived it and used the same mantra, because this is the mantra of the world. There was a short period of my life when I became persuaded into a belief that a certain group of people is much better than all the others. It even felt good for a while. Until the bitter awakening.
So now it really is unwelcome to put forth arguments about "one way" being absolutely right. Those close to me remember that period and cover their ears. I do not blame them.

But is really satisfaction and security what religion should be about? It seems that people do not need God any more. Works' religions, justifications apart from Jesus,
self fulfillment, comfort, feel-good philosophy - why should they bother about any deity? It only complicates things and forces them to make up some twisted theology. Catholics, Muslims, JWs - the lot - they are so much alike... Life should be happy and carefree, right?
Joh 14:6

(ALT) Jesus says to him, "_I_ am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!

ASV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Bibeln) Jesus svarade honom: "Jag är vägen och sanningen och livet; ingen kommer till Fadern utom genom mig.

V) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

V) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

V+) Jesus2424 saith3004 unto him,846 I1473 am1510 the3588 way,3598 the3588 truth,225 and2532 the3588 life:2222 no man3762 cometh2064 unto4314 the3588 Father,3962 but1508 by1223 me.1700

VR) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

TV) Jesus said to him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

JV) Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.

G) Rzekł mu Jezus: Jamci jest ta droga, i prawda, i żywot; żaden nie przychodzi do Ojca, tylko przez mię.

The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers - the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ's warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called "nominal Christianity". In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved; enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.

John R. W. Stott, Basic Christianity (London: Inter-Varsity, 1958), 108
/quoted after John F. MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus/

Just when I thought I was done with this post, I read today's article on,
Jesus Christ is "Our Vehicle to the Divine?" The Episcopal Church is in Big Trouble.
Well, and it reminds me, unfortunately, of the Swedish Apostate Lutheran Church, one of my September blog entries.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.", "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
(Rom 3:9-31)

And the wonderful explanation of these verses in blueletterbible.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Prayer

Giving me all for nothing
Lifting me to your heights
Making me equal with holy ones
Equipping me with Your might

You are forgiving and loving
And never cease being just
Taking upon You my wickedness,
My sinful nature, my lust...

O God, how shall I ever be able
To give You my praise and my thanks
The only thing a man can ever do
Is to follow You as he Your cross bears

Through my weakness and sorrow and poverty
With my faith in You out of Your Grace
I shall serve you until You release me
All my life, from now on, all my days.
by ann_in_grace

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

This is the most beautiful hymn. I have tears in my eyes every time I listen to it, and believe me, Steve Camp CAN sing. The lyrics are slightly different in his song, but this is what I found as the core of the text.
Enjoy and God Bless

Monday, November 06, 2006

Adversities Are My Strength

During my driving home I was thinking about all the strange and nasty things that have been happening to me lately. Small stuff, maybe not extremely important for my survival, but annoying and irritating nevertheless. Like my car - suddenly leaking water on to the floor, nobody knows why, or small things at home breaking down without an apparent reason, or tiny obstacles at work, testing my patience, never before present there.
And when I was getting sad about all this, a new thought came to my mind - that all this is the beginning of my own crucible of grace. How could I be so naive and full of pride to think that the trials should not pick me?
Everything was just fine up until June this year. God saved me by His Grace in June. And then all this started, bit by bit, week after week.
So my next thought was that of joy! Because if these things happen to me, and if the time stamp on them is what it seems to be - after my conversion - then this is one more proof of the correctness of my ways.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(Jam 1:2-4)
I have nothing to fear. Trusting God is the best way for a believer. And the trials, big and small, are to make me pure and faithful.
putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control.
(Heb 2:8)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Text for Sunday

Heb 2:10-13
(10) For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
(11) For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
(12) saying, "I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise."
(13) And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Behold, I and the children God has given me."

Henry's commentary:
Heb 2:10-13 -
Having mentioned the death of Christ, the apostle here proceeds to prevent and remove the scandal of the cross; and this he does by showing both how it became God that Christ should suffer and how much man should be benefited by those sufferings.
I. How it became God that Christ should suffer: For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings, Heb_2:10. Here,
1. God is described as the final end and first cause of all things, and as such it became him to secure his own glory in all that he did, not only to act so that he might in nothing dishonour himself, but so that he might from every thing have a revenue of glory.
2. He is declared to have acted up to this glorious character in the work of redemption, as to the choice both of the end and of the means.
(1.) In the choice of the end; and that was to bring many sons to glory in enjoying the glorious privileges of the gospel, and to future glory in heaven, which will be glory indeed, an exceeding eternal weight of glory. Here observe, [1.] We must be the sons of God both by adoption and regeneration, before we can be brought to the glory of heaven. Heaven is the inheritance; and only those that are the children are heirs of that inheritance. [2.] All true believers are the children of God: to those that receive Christ he has granted the power and privilege of being the children of God, even to as many as believe on his name, Joh_1:12. [3.] Though the sons of God are but a few in one place and at one time, yet when they shall be all brought together it will appear that they are many. Christ is the first-born among many brethren. [4.] All the sons of God, now many soever they are, or however dispersed and divided, shall at length be brought together to glory.
(2.) In the choice of the means. In finding out such a person as should be the captain of our salvation; those that are saved must come to that salvation under the guidance of a captain and leader sufficient for that purpose; and they must be all enlisted under the banner of this captain; they must endure hardship as good soldiers of Christ; they must follow their captain, and those that do so shall be brought safely off, and shall inherit great glory and honour. [2.] In making this captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings. God the Father made the Lord Jesus Christ the captain of our salvation (that is, he consecrated, he appointed him to that office, he gave him a commission for it), and he made him a perfect captain: he had perfection of wisdom, and courage, and strength, by the Spirit of the Lord, which he had without measure; he was made perfect through sufferings; that is, he perfected the work of our redemption by shedding his blood, and was thereby perfectly qualified to be a Mediator between God and man. He found his way to the crown by the cross, and so must his people too. The excellent Dr. Owen observes that the Lord Jesus Christ, being consecrated and perfected through suffering, has consecrated the way of suffering for all his followers to pass through unto glory; and hereby their sufferings are made necessary and unavoidable, they are hereby made honourable, useful, and profitable.
II. He shows how much they would be benefited by the cross and sufferings of Christ; as there was nothing unbecoming God and Christ, so there was that which would be very beneficial to men, in these sufferings. Hereby they are brought into a near union with Christ, and into a very endearing relation.
1. Into a near union (Heb_2:11): Both he that sanctifieth and those that are sanctified are all of one. Observe, Christ is he that sanctifieth; he has purchased and sent the sanctifying Spirit; he is the head of all sanctifying influences. The Spirit sanctifieth as the Spirit of Christ. True believers are those who are sanctified, endowed with holy principles and powers, separated and set apart from mean and vile uses to high and holy uses and purposes; for so they must be before they can be brought to glory. Now Christ, who is the agent in this work of sanctification, and Christians, who are the recipient subjects, are all of one. How? Why, (1.) They are all of one heavenly Father, and that is God. God is the Father of Christ by eternal generation and by miraculous conception, of Christians by adoption and regeneration. (2.) They are of one earthly father, Adam. Christ and believers have the same human nature. (3.) Of one spirit, one holy and heavenly disposition; the same mind is in them that was in Christ, though not in the same measure; the same Spirit informs and actuates the head and all the members.
2. Into an endearing relation. This results from the union. And here first he declares what this relation is, and then he quotes three texts out of the Old Testament to illustrate and prove it.
(1.) He declares what this relation is: he and believers being all of one, he therefore is not ashamed to call them brethren. Observe, [1.] Christ and believers are brethren; not only bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, but spirit of his spirit-brethren by the whole blood, in what is heavenly as well as in what is earthly. [2.] Christ is not ashamed to own this relation; he is not ashamed to call them brethren, which is wonderful goodness and condescension in him, considering their meanness by nature and vileness by sin; but he will never be ashamed of any who are not ashamed of him, and who take care not to be a shame and reproach to him and to themselves.
(2.) He illustrates this from three texts of scripture.
[1.] The first is out of Psa_22:22, I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. This psalm was an eminent prophecy of Christ; it begins with his words on the cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Now here it is foretold, First, That Christ should have a church or congregation in the world, a company of volunteers, freely willing to follow him. Secondly, That these should not only be brethren to one another, but to Christ himself. Thirdly, That he would declare his Father's name to them, that is, his nature and attributes, his mind and will: this he did in his own person, while he dwelt among us, and by his Spirit poured out upon his disciples, enabling them to spread the knowledge of God in the world from one generation to another, to the end of the world. Fourthly, That Christ would sing praise to his Father in the church. The glory of the Father was what Christ had in his eye; his heart was set upon it, he laid out himself for it, and he would have his people to join with him in it.
[2.] The second scripture is quoted from Psa_18:2, And again, I will put my trust in him. That psalm sets forth the troubles that David, as a type of Christ, met with, and how he in all his troubles put his trust in God. Now this shows that besides his divine nature, which needed no supports, he was to take another nature upon him, that would want those supports which none but God could give. He suffered and trusted as our head and president. Owen in locum. His brethren must suffer and trust too.
[3.] The third scripture is taken from Isa_8:18, Behold, I and the children which God hath given me. This proves Christ really and truly man, for parents and children are of the same nature. Christ's children were given him of the Father, in the counsel of his eternal love, and that covenant of peace which was between them. And they are given to Christ at their conversion. When they take hold of his covenant, then Christ receives them, rules over them, rejoices in them, perfects all their affairs, takes them up to heaven, and there presents them to his Father, Behold, I and the children which thou hast given me.