Sunday, October 10, 2010

Humanists believe...

We believe in Marx Freud and Darwin. We believe everything is OK as long as you don't hurt anyone- to best of your definition of hurt and to the best of your definition of knowledge. We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin. We believe that adultery is fun. We believe taboos are taboo. We believe that everything is getting better despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated and you can prove anything with evidence. We believe there is something in horoscopes, UFOs, and bent spoons. Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Mohammed, and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher although we think some of his good morals were really bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same (at least the ones that we read were.) They all believe in love and goodness they only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, god, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the nothing because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing. If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it is compulsory heaven for all excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan. We believe in Masters and Johnson, what's selected as average, what's average is normal, what's normal is good. We believe in total disarmament because we believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. Americans should beat their guns in to tractors and the Russians would be sure to follow. We believe that man is essentially good its only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society, society is the fault of conditions, and conditions are the fault of society. We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him and reality will adapt accordingly- the universe will readjust history will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth. We believe in the rejection of creeds and the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be the father of all flesh disaster is his rainbow in the sky, and when you hear state of emergency, sniper kills 10, troops on rampage, youths go looting, bomb blasts school it is but the sound of man worshipping his maker.

Repent for Your Environmental Sins!

Environmentalism replaces the individual transcendence of death found in conventional spiritual religions, with a materialistic creed of subsumption within a biological metaphor. Immortality is not achieved through a community of faith, but an ecosystem. Gaia replaces God as the source of all life, the central relationship for man and the keystone of his morality. Eco-morality replaces human-centered morality. People become just another species in a vast collection of them, no more worthy of respect or protection, than the badger or the snake. Less worthy even, because humanity has overstepped its bounds, through the "original sin" of fire, capitalism and innovation. This time around the "apple" is actually a diesel fueled engine and if we smash enough of them, the spirits of the earth will let us back into the garden where we can all go around naked, live in caves and die at the ripe old age of thirty.

It's insane, yes. But it's also a belief system, one that has given rise to a post-human left, which is far less concerned with the question of human rights, and much more concerned with managing humanity, as if it were an invading pathogen. Environmentalism provides moral cover for the left's disengagement from the issues of human rights that it once pretended to care about. Its coldness toward human beings is a sign of how much it "cares" about something bigger than man. About the whole planet. Suddenly environmentalists aren't sociopaths, even when they make videos featuring the murder of children who don't go along with their creed, they just happen to be supremely caring people who are operating on a level beyond that of mortal men. Their cruelty is actually a higher form of morality.

Read more here.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?
How do you become a Christian?

There is Something to Admit

First of all we have to admit that we are all sinners. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

Each of us has failed miserably when it comes to keeping His commandments. We haven't honored our parents as we should, we have tolerated untruthfulness, we have been envious of our neighbors and while we may not have actually committed murder, we have tolerated murderous thoughts. Our natural tendency is not to acknowledge our sin. We are prone to blame our circumstances or our genes. We are keen to gain comfort in the assurance that we are not as bad as some people.

So what brings us to the place where we know that we must admit we are sinners? This is something God does. Jesus explained to His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit, "When He comes, He will convince the world of the meaning of sin, of true goodness and of judgment." John 16:8

There is Something to Believe

Jesus is the only Savior from the sin to which we have just admitted. We may have begun our journey fairly convinced Jesus was a "good man," but as we considered the evidence we were forced in a different direction. We certainly did not set out predisposed to believe. So we find ourselves agreeing with this statement: "Faith is forced consent. That is to say, when evidence is judged by the mind to be sufficient, the state of mind we call 'faith' is the inevitable effect….whenever the reasons are judged sufficient, faith or belief is induced." (John Murray "Collected Writings II" p237)

So we come to believe that God has made provision for our sin in the person of His Son. "We see real love, not in the fact that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to make personal atonement for our sins." 1 John 4:10 JBP.

There is Something to Consider

We need to come to terms with the cost of following Christ. He said,"If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses his life for my sake will save it." Luke 9:23,4.

Now be careful not to misunderstand this. The only thing we 'contribute' to our salvation is the sin from which we need to be saved. One way to learn the important distinction is to remember that while entrance to the Christian life is free, the annual subscription is everything we have!

There is a cost involved in saying no to sin.

Jesus said, "The time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!… Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Notice that His first call is to 'repentance' This means to turn from sin to God. There are certain characteristics which Sinclair Ferguson points out are commonly present in repentance.

A sense of shame, such as when David cries to the Lord after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what it evil in your sight…" Psalm 51:3,4.
This leads to humbling. Instead of jumping to our defense or trying to blame our actions on people or circumstances, we acknowledge our accountability.
There is an accompanying sense of sorrow and regret. If we had been in the corner of the bedroom of the prodigal son on his first night at home, I think we would have heard the sobs and seen the tears and watched in wonder as he kneeled by his bed and mourned the wasted years and the squandered privileges. The memory of sin is distasteful to the truly penitent.
There is also a recognition of God's pardon. It is the kindness of God which leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). While we are emphasizing the need for repentance at the gateway of faith, this is something which continues through our entire life.
There is a cost involved in saying no to self.

What we mean by this is simply that Christ comes first, before everything and everyone else. This has a peculiarly challenging ring in the midst of a culture that has gone to great lengths to bolster self-esteem and make much of the individual. It means that my time and my talents and my relationships and my career will all be brought under His jurisdiction.

There is a cost involved in saying no to secrecy.

When a man or woman discovers the freedom Jesus brings, they will be ready and willing to let others know. The Bible confirms this in a number of places. "If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

While coming to trust in Christ is undoubtedly a personal matter, it is not private.

There is Something to Do

Genuine Christian faith is more than saying,"I believe Jesus is who He claimed to be." After all even demons are orthodox when it comes to this, but clearly they are not Christians! (James 2:19)

Faith means accepting the facts can be trusted, and acting upon what you believe to be true.

Alister McGrath uses an analogy which you may find helpful. Imagine I am suffering from blood poisoning and there is a bottle of penicillin sitting on my bedside table. What are my options?

I may accept that this bottle of penicillin exists.
I may trust that it is capable of curing my illness, but I shall never cure my blood poisoning, unless -
I act upon that trust and take the penicillin. Acceptance and trust prepare the way for the final component of faith - entering into the promise, and receiving what it offers.
Mere mental assent to these facts without any corresponding action no more brings us to personal faith than memorizing a menu allows us to enjoy a meal. True faith means moving beyond the awareness of the existence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to a living personal relationship with Him.

If God has shown you your need and given you this desire, then you must forsake everything and trust Christ NOW! There's a time coming when it will be too late.

So here is the most crucial question you will ever face: "Do you take this Savior?"

If your answer is "yes," then let me encourage you to deal with the matter immediately. You may want to find a quiet place to seal your commitment. God is not so concerned with your ability to articulate your thoughts as He is aware of the sincerity of the response of your heart. A simple prayer such as this may be of help to you in marking the moment. Depending on the kind of person you are, you may want to write this in your journal or the fly leaf of your Bible. This is a unique occasion.

"Lord Jesus Christ, I confess that I am a guilty, lost and helpless sinner. I want you to save me, to take your rightful place as Lord of my life. I want to turn from my sin and trust only in your atoning sacrifice. I give my life to you. Take charge of it all and help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to follow after you."

It is important for us to recognize the mystery which surrounds this. Jesus referred to this when he was talking with Nicodemus about being born again. He said, "The wind blows where it likes, you can hear the sound of it but you have no idea where it comes from and where it goes. Nor can you tell how a man is born by the wind of the Spirit." John3:8 JBP.

This recognizes the amazing wonder of God's grace whereby Jesus comes to where I am, calls me by my name and changes me. So this life-changing encounter takes place both mysteriously and individually.

Faith is the gift of God, and we may be confident that having given it, He will not take it back. Allow me to offer you the same encouragement Paul gave to the believers in Philippi, "I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil.1:6

So What Should I DO Now

There are two very important things you should now do.

Get yourself a Bible and start reading it. The gospel of John is a good place to start. The Bible is the Word of God and He gave it to us that we might learn more about following Him. Set aside a time each day for reading your Bible and talking to God in prayer.
Find other Christians and tell them what you've done. If you know other Christians, then you could go to church with them. If not, then find a Bible-teaching church that you can attend. It is important now that you grow in your walk with God. Spiritual food, that is fellowship and teaching, as well as your own Bible study, will help you grow.
"Look unto me and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is no other." Isaiah 45 : 22 BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Be holy

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Practical Implications of the Attributes of God

Practical Implications of the Incommunicable Attributes of God

Independence: God does not need us or the rest of creation for anything, yet we and the rest of creation can glorify him and bring him joy.“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24–25; cf. Ex. 3:14; Job 41:11;Ps. 50:9–12; 90:2).God never experiences need, so serving God should never be motivated by the thought that he needs us. He is the provider in everything.
Immutability: God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises, although as he acts in response to different situations he feels emotions.“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6; for “being,” cf. Ps. 102:25–27; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17; for “purposes,” cf. Ps. 33:11; Isa. 46:9–11; for “promises,” cf. Num. 23:19; Rom. 11:29).God can always be trusted because he always keeps his word, and is never capricious or moody.
Eternity: God has no beginning or end and is in no way bound by time, although he sees events and acts in his world in time, which is in fact one dimension of the created order.“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Ps. 90:2; cf.Ex. 3:14; Job 36:26; Ps. 90:4; Isa. 46:9–10; John 8:58; 1 Tim. 6:16; 2 Pet. 3:8; Jude 24–25; Rev. 1:8; 4:8).Those who trust the God of eternity can know peace, rest, and comfort in the busyness of life and in spite of impending death, for God keeps them in safety and joy forever.
Omnipresence: God does not have spatial dimensions and is present everywhere with his whole being, though he acts differently in different situations.“Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jer. 23:23–24; cf.1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:7–10; Isa. 66:1–2; Acts 7:48–50).God can be sought anywhere regardless of place. Believers should never feel lonely, and the wicked should never feel safe.

Practical Implications of the Communicable Attributes of God

Holiness: God is absolutely and uniquely excellent above all creation (majesty) and without sin (purity).“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev. 4:8; for “majestic holiness,” cf. Ex. 15:11; 1 Chron. 16:27–29; Isa. 57:15; for “moral holiness,” cf. Isa. 5:16; 6:1–8; Acts 3:14; Heb. 7:26).God should be feared and obeyed, and his people should earnestly pursue moral purity.
Omnipotence:God is able to do all his holy will.“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isa. 46:9–10; cf. Ex. 6:3; Job 37:23; 40:2; 42:1–6;Ps. 24:6; 33:10–11; 91:1; Dan. 4:34–35; Matt. 28:18).God's ultimate will is never frustrated by evil, so there is peace and confidence in the face of suffering for those who trust God.
Sovereignty:God has absolute rule over creation as King and total control and determination over all that happens.“His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Dan. 4:34–35; cf. 1 Chron. 29:11–13; Ps. 22:28; 24:1; 47:7–9; 103:19; Prov. 16:19, 21, 33; Dan. 4:25; 7:1–28; 12:1–13;Matt. 6:13; 10:29; Acts 17:26; Eph. 1:11; 1 Tim. 6:15; James 1:13–15).Mankind should obey and submit to God as humble subjects of his kingdom.
Omniscience:God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible—past, present, and future.“Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20; cf. Job 28:24; 37:16; Ps. 139:1–3; 147:5; Isa. 55:8–9; Matt. 10:29–30; Rom. 11:33–34; 1 Cor. 2:10–11; Heb. 4:13).All God's thoughts and actions are perfectly informed by perfect knowledge, so he is perfectly trustworthy.
Wisdom: God always knows and chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals. Wisdom is a moral as well as an intellectual quality.“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might” (Dan. 2:20; cf. Job 9:4; 12:13; Ps. 104:24;Rom. 11:33; 16:27; 1 Cor. 1:21–29; Eph. 3:10–11).God's wisdom is not always clear to us, but it is great, deep, valuable, and should be highly desired and sought, and we should not doubt its reality even in circumstances that upset us.
Love: God freely and eternally gives of himself. The ultimate historical demonstration of God's love is seen in the cross of Christ.“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:8–10; cf. John 3:16; 15:13; 17:24; Rom. 5:8; 8:31–39; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 3:16; 4:16).God is eager to extravagantly give of himself to meet the needs of lost sinners, so they should flee to him with confidence (cf. Rom. 8:32).
Wrath: God intensely hates and responds with anger to all sin and rebellion. God hates every threat to what he loves.“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb’” (Rev. 6:15–16; cf. Ex. 34:7;Rom. 1:18; 2:4; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:5; 2 Pet. 3:9).God should be greatly feared. Unbelievers should fear his judgment and turn to Christ for salvation. Believers should fear God's fatherly discipline. The God who loves us is also the holy God who hates sin (1 Pet. 1:17).

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Jesus Is God: Specific Examples Where Greek Theos (“God”) Is Applied to Jesus

John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:18No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
John 20:28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!
Rom. 9:5To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who isGod over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Titus 2:13… waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ …
Heb. 1:8But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.”
2 Pet. 1:1To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our Godand Savior Jesus Christ …

Friday, August 27, 2010

Church Leaders Should Likewise Lead Lives That Are Examples to Imitate

Phil. 3:17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the exampleyou have in us.
1 Tim. 4:12Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Titus 2:7–8Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech.
Heb. 13:7Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
1 Pet. 5:2–3Shepherd the flock of God … not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Who Will Answer

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!, Hallelujah!

From the canyons of the mind,
We wander on and stumble blindly
Through the often-tangled maze
Of starless nights and sunless days,
While asking for some kind of clue
Or road to lead us to the truth,
But who will answer?

Side by side two people stand,
Together vowing, hand-in-hand
That love's imbedded in their hearts,
But soon an empty feeling starts
To overwhelm their hollow lives,
And when they seek the hows and whys,
Who will answer?

On a strange and distant hill,
A young man's lying very still.
His arms will never hold his child,
Because a bullet running wild
Has struck him down. And now we cry,
"Dear God, Oh, why, oh, why?"
But who will answer?

High upon a lonely ledge,
a figure teeters near the edge,
And jeering crowds collect below
To egg him on with, "Go, man, go!"
But who will ask what led him
To his private day of doom,
And who will answer?


If the soul is darkened
By a fear it cannot name,
If the mind is baffled
When the rules don't fit the game,
Who will answer? Who will answer? Who will answer?
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!, Hallelujah!

In the rooms of dark and shades,
The scent of sandalwood pervades.
The colored thoughts in muddled heads
Reclining in the rumpled beds
Of unmade dreams that can't come true,
And when we ask what we should do,
Who... Who will answer?

'Neath the spreading mushroom tree,
The world revolves in apathy
As overhead, a row of specks
Roars on, drowned out by discotheques,
And if a secret button's pressed
Because one man has been outguessed,
Who will answer?

Is our hope in walnut shells
Worn 'round the neck with temple bells,
Or deep within some cloistered walls
Where hooded figures pray in halls?
Or crumbled books on dusty shelves,
Or in our stars, or in ourselves,
Who will answer?

If the soul is darkened
By a fear it cannot name,
If the mind is baffled
When the rules don't fit the game,
Who will answer? Who will answer? Who will answer?
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!, Hallelujah!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hebrews 12:1, Calvin Commentaries

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

1. Wherefore, seeing we also, etc. This conclusion is, as it were, an epilogue to the former chapter, by which he shows the end for which he gave a catalogue of the saints who excelled in faith under the Law, even that every one should be prepared to imitate them; and he calls a large multitude metaphorically a cloud, for he sets what is dense in opposition to what is thinly scattered. Had they been a few in number, yet they ought to have roused us by their example; but as they were a vast throng, they ought more powerfully to stimulate us.

He says that we are so surrounded by this dense throng, that wherever we turn our eyes many examples of faith immediately meet us. The word witnesses I do not take in a general sense, as though he called them the martyrs of God, and I apply it to the case before us, as though he had said that faith is sufficiently proved by their testimony, so that no doubt ought to be entertained; for the virtues of the saints are so many testimonies to confirm us, that we, relying on them as our guides and associates, ought to go onward to God with more alacrity.

Let us lay aside every weight, or every burden, etc. As he refers to the likeness of a race, he bids us to be lightly equipped; for nothing more prevents haste than to be encumbered with burdens. Now there are various burdens which delay and impede our spiritual course, such as the love of this present life, the pleasures of the world, the lusts of the flesh, worldly cares, riches also and honors, and other things of this kind. Whosoever, then, would run in the course prescribed by Christ, must first disentangle himself from all these impediments, for we are already of ourselves more tardy than we ought to be, so no other causes of delay should be added.

We are not however bidden to cast away riches or other blessings of this life, except so far as they retard our course for Satan by these as by toils retains and impedes us.

Now, the metaphor of a race is often to be found in Scripture; but here it means not any kind of race, but a running contest, which is wont to call forth the greatest exertions. The import of what is said then is, that we are engaged in a contest, even in a race the most celebrated, that many witnesses stand around us, that the Son of God is the umpire who invites and exhorts us to secure the prize, and that therefore it would be most disgraceful for us to grow weary or inactive in the midst of our course. And at the same time the holy men whom he mentioned, are not only witnesses, but have been associates in the same race, who have beforehand shown the way to us; and yet he preferred calling them witnesses rather than runners, in order to intimate that they are not rivals, seeking to snatch from us the prize, but approves to applaud and hail our victory; and Christ also is not only the umpire, but also extends his hand to us, and supplies us with strength and energy; in short, he prepares and fits us to enter on our course, and by his power leads us on to the end of the race.

And the sin which does so easily beset us, or, stand around us, etc. This is the heaviest burden that impedes us. And he says that we are entangled, in order that we may know, that no one is fit to run except he has stripped off all toils and snares. He speaks not of outward, or, as they say, of actual sin, but of the very fountain, even concupiscence or lust, which so possesses every part of us, that we feel that we are on every side held by its snares.

Let us run with patience, etc. By this word patience, we are ever reminded of what the Apostle meant to be mainly regarded in faith, even that we are in spirit to seek the kingdom of God, which is invisible to the flesh, and exceeds all that our minds can comprehend; for they who are occupied in meditating on this kingdom can easily disregard all earthly things. He thus could not more effectually withdraw the Jews from their ceremonies, than by calling their attention to the real exercises of faith, by which they might learn that Christ’s kingdom is spiritual, and far superior to the elements of the world.

Sunday, June 27, 2010




The divisions of this chapter are,—I. The glory of God, and peace of conscience, both secured by gratuitous justification. An insult to the glory of God to glory in ourselves and seek justification out of Christ, whose righteousness, apprehended by faith, is imputed to all the elect for reconciliation and eternal salvation, sec. 1, 2. II. Peace of conscience cannot be obtained in any other way than by gratuitous justification. This fully proved, sec. 3-5.


1. The glory of God remains untarnished, when he alone is acknowledged to be just. This proved from Scripture.

2. Those who glory in themselves glory against God. Objection. Answer, confirmed by the authority of Paul and Peter.

3. Peace of conscience obtained by free justification only. Testimony of Solomon, of conscience itself, and the Apostle Paul, who contends that faith is made vain if righteousness come by the law.

4. The promise confirmed by faith in the mercy of Christ. This is confirmed by Augustine and Bernard, is in accordance with what has been above stated, and is illustrated by clear predictions of the prophets.

5. Farther demonstration by an Apostle. Refutation of a sophism.

1. Here two ends must be kept specially in view, namely, that the glory of God be maintained unimpaired, and that our consciences, in the view of his tribunal, be secured in peaceful rest and calm tranquillity. When the question relates to righteousness, we see how often and how anxiously Scripture exhorts us to give the whole praise of it to God. Accordingly, the Apostle testifies that the purpose of the Lord in conferring righteousness upon us in Christ, was to demonstrate his own righteousness. The nature of this demonstration he immediately subjoins—viz. “that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus,” (Rom. 3:25). Observe, that the righteousness of God is not sufficiently displayed, unless He alone is held to be righteous, and freely communicates righteousness to the undeserving. For this reason it is his will, that “every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God,” (Rom. 3:19). For so long as a man has any thing, however small, to say in his own defense, so long he deducts somewhat from the glory of God. Thus we are taught in Ezekiel how much we glorify his name by acknowledging our iniquity: “Then shall ye remember your ways and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight, for all your evils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for my name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings,” (Ezek. 20:43, 44). If part of the true knowledge of God consists in being oppressed by a consciousness of our own iniquity, and in recognizing him as doing good to those who are unworthy of it, why do we attempt, to our great injury, to steal from the Lord even one particle of the praise of unmerited kindness? In like manner, when Jeremiah exclaims, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory” in the Lord (Jer. 9:23, 24), does he not intimate, that the glory of the Lord is infringed when man glories in himself? To this purpose, indeed, Paul accommodates the words when he says, that all the parts of our salvation are treasured up with Christ, that we may glory only in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:29). For he intimates, that whosoever imagines he has any thing of his own, rebels against God, and obscures his glory.

2. Thus, indeed, it is: we never truly glory in him until we have utterly discarded our own glory. It must, therefore, be regarded as an universal proposition, that whoso glories in himself glories against God. Paul indeed considers, that the whole world is not made subject to God until every ground of glorying has been withdrawn from men (Rom. 3:19). Accordingly, Isaiah, when he declares that “in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified” adds, “and shall glory” (Isa. 45:25 ), as if he had said that the elect are justified by the Lord, in order that they may glory in him, and in none else. The way in which we are to glory in the Lord he had explained in the preceding verse, “Unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear;” “Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength, even to him shall men come.” Observe, that the thing required is not simple confession, but confession confirmed by an oath, that it might not be imagined that any kind of fictitious humility might suffice. And let no man here allege that he does not glory, when without arrogance he recognizes his own righteousness; such a recognition cannot take place without generating confidence, nor such confidence without begetting boasting. Let us remember, therefore, that in the whole discussion concerning justification the great thing to be attended to is, that God’s glory be maintained entire and unimpaired; since as the Apostle declares, it was in demonstration of his own righteousness that he shed his favor upon us; it was “that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus,” (Rom. 3:26). Hence, in another passage, having said that the Lord conferred salvation upon us, in order that he might show forth the glory of his name (Eph. 1:6), he afterwards, as if repeating the same thing, adds, “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Eph. 2:8). And Peter, when he reminds us that we are called to the hope of salvation, “that ye should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” (1 Pet. 2:9), doubtless intends thus to proclaim in the ears of believers only the praises of God, that they may bury in profound silence all arrogance of the flesh. The sum is, that man cannot claim a single particle of righteousness to himself, without at the same time detracting from the glory of the divine righteousness.

3. If we now inquire in what way the conscience can be quieted as in the view of God, we shall find that the only way is by having righteousness bestowed upon us freely by the gift of God. Let us always remember the words of Solomon, “Who can say I have made my heart clean, I am free from my sin?” (Prov. 20:9). Undoubtedly there is not one man who is not covered with infinite pollutions. Let the most perfect man descend into his own conscience, and bring his actions to account, and what will the result be? Will he feel calm and quiescent, as if all matters were well arranged between himself and God; or will he not rather be stung with dire torment, when he sees that the ground of condemnation is within him if he be estimated by his works? Conscience, when it beholds God, must either have sure peace with his justice, or be beset by the terrors of hell. We gain nothing, therefore, by discoursing of righteousness, unless we hold it to be a righteousness stable enough to support our souls before the tribunal of God. When the soul is able to appear intrepidly in the presence of God, and receive his sentence without dismay, then only let us know that we have found a righteousness that is not fictitious. It is not, therefore, without cause, that the Apostle insists on this matter. I prefer giving it in his words rather than my own: “If they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of no effect,” (Rom. 4:14). He first infers that faith is made void if the promise of righteousness has respect to the merit of our works, or depends on the observance of the law. Never could any one rest securely in it, for never could he feel fully assured that he had fully satisfied the law; and it is certain that no man ever fully satisfied it by works. Not to go far for proof of this, every one who will use his eyes aright may be his own witness. Hence it appears how deep and dark the abyss is into which hypocrisy plunges the minds of men, when they indulge so securely as, without hesitations to oppose their flattery to the judgment of God, as if they were relieving him from his office as judge. Very different is the anxiety which fills the breasts of believers, who sincerely examine themselves.42 23 423 The two previous sentences are ommited in the French. Every mind, therefore, would first begin to hesitate, and at length to despair, while each determined for itself with how great a load of debt it was still oppressed, and how far it was from coming up to the enjoined condition. Thus, then, faith would be oppressed and extinguished. To have faith is not to fluctuate, to vary, to be carried up and down, to hesitate, remain in suspense, vacillate, in fine, to despair; it is to possess sure certainty and complete security of mind, to have whereon to rest and fix your foot.

4. Paul, moreover, adds, that the promise itself would be rendered null and void. For if its fulfillment depends on our merits when pray, will we be able to come the length of meriting the favor of God? Nay, the second clause is a consequence of the former, since the promise will not be fulfilled unless to those who put faith in it. Faith therefore failing, no power will remain in the promise. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed,” (Rom. 4:16). It was abundantly confirmed when made to rest on the mercy of God alone, for mercy and truth are united by an indissoluble tie; that is, whatever God has mercifully promised he faithfully performs. Thus David, before he asks salvation according to the word of God, first places the source of it in his mercy. “Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant,” (Ps. 119:76). And justly, for nothing but mere mercy induces God to promise. Here, then, we must place, and, as it were, firmly fix our whole hope, paying no respect to our works, and asking no assistance from them. And lest you should suppose that there is any thing novel in what I say, Augustine also enjoins us so to act. “Christ,” says he, “will reign forever among his servants. This God has promised, God has spoken; if this is not enough, God has sworn. Therefore, as the promise stands firm, not in respect of our merits, but in respect of his mercy, no one ought to tremble in announcing that of which he cannot doubt,” (August. in Ps. 88, Tract. 50). Thus Bernard also, “Who can be saved? ask the disciples of Christ. He replies, With men it is impossible, but not with God. This is our whole confidence, this our only consolation; this the whole ground of our hope: but being assured of the possibility, what are we to say as to his willingness? Who knows whether he is deserving of love or hatred? (Eccles. 9:1). ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ (1 Cor. 2:16). Here it is plain, faith must come to our aid: here we must have the assistance of truth, in order that the secret purpose of the Father respecting us may be revealed by the Spirit, and the Spirit testifying may persuade our hearts that we are the sons of God. But let him persuade by calling and justifying freely by faith: in these there is a kind of transition from eternal predestination to future glory,” (Bert. in Dedica. Templi, Serm. 5). Let us thus briefly conclude: Scripture indicates that the promises of God are not surer unless they are apprehended with full assurance of conscience; it declares that wherever there is doubt or uncertainty, the promises are made void; on the other hand, that they can only waver and fluctuate if they depend on our works. Therefore, either our righteousness must perish, or without any consideration of our works, place must be given to faith alone, whose nature it is to prick up the ear, and shut the eye; that is, to be intent on the promise only, to give up all idea of any dignity or merit in man. Thus is fulfilled the celebrated prophecy of Zechariah: “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbor under the vine, and under the fig-tree,” (Zech. 3:9, 10). Here the prophet intimates that the only way in which believers can enjoy true peace, is by obtaining the remission of their sins. For we must attend to this peculiarity in the prophets, that when they discourse of the kingdom of Christ, they set forth the external mercies of God as types of spiritual blessings. Hence Christ is called the Prince of Peace, and our peace, Isaiah 9:6; Eph. 2:14), because he calms all the agitations of conscience. If the method is asked, we must come to the sacrifice by which God was appeased, for no man will ever cease to tremble, until he hold that God is propitiated solely by that expiation in which Christ endured his anger. In short, peace must be sought nowhere but in the agonies of Christ our Redeemer.

5. But why employ a more obscure testimony? Paul uniformly declares that the conscience can have no peace or quiet joy until it is held for certain that we are justified by faith. And he at the same time declares whence this certainty is derived—viz. when “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost,” (Rom. 5:5); as if he had said that our Souls cannot have peace until we are fully assured that we are pleasing to God. Hence he elsewhere exclaims in the person of believers in general, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35). Until we have reached that haven, the slightest breeze will make us tremble, but so long as the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall walk without fear in the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23). Thus those who pretend that justification by faith consists in being regenerated and made just, by living spiritually, have never tasted the sweetness of grace in trusting that God will be propitious. Hence also, they know no more of praying aright than do the Turks or any other heathen people. For, as Paul declares, faith is not true, unless it suggest and dictate the delightful name of Father; nay, unless it open our mouths and enable us freely to cry, Abba, Father. This he expresses more clearly in another passage, “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him,” (Eph. 3:12). This, certainly, is not obtained by the gift of regeneration, which, as it is always defective in the present state, contains within it many grounds of doubt. Wherefore, we must have recourse to this remedy; we must hold that the only hope which believers have of the heavenly inheritance is, that being in grafted into the body of Christ, they are justified freely. For, in regard to justification, faith is merely passives bringing nothing of our own to procure the favor of God, but receiving from Christ every thing that we want.