ASSEMBLY TESTIMONY BIBLE CLASS
by J. Riddle
THE TRUTH OF GATHERING TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
by I. W. Gibson
MEDITATIONS IN ISAIAH 9.6
by J. M. Flanigan
by R. Plant
by C. Jones
MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by J.A. Davidson
by J. Riddle (Cheshunt)
33) “Thou shalt not cause the land to sin”
Read Chapter 24.1-5
This chapter continues a section in the book (chs.22-25) covering a wide range of different subjects and situations. There is, however, considerable merit in Raymond Brown’s suggestion that the unifying theme in these particular verses is protection, and with this in mind we will proceed with our study as follows:
- protecting married women, vv.1-4;
- protecting early marriage, v5;
- protecting the household, v6;
- protecting personal liberty, v7;
- protecting public health, vv.8-9;
- protecting personal feelings, vv.10-11;
- protecting personal comfort, vv.12-13;
- protecting employees’ rights, vv.14-15;
- protecting innocent people, v.16;
- protecting disadvantaged people, vv.17-22.
1. PROTECTING MARRIED WOMEN, vv.1-4
“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her; then let him write a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife,” vv.1-2. The reason for this provision is made clear by the Lord Jesus, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives,” Matt.19.8. This is part of the second answer given by the Lord Jesus to questions put to Him by the Pharisees in Matt.19.1-9.
- “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”, to which the Lord replied, “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
- “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?”, to which the Lord replied, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
In his gospel Mark makes it clear that the Pharisees were indulging in ‘catch questions’ in an attempt to discredit the Lord Jesus: “And the Pharisees came to Him, and asked Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting Him.” If the Lord Jesus had answered, “No, it is not lawful for a man to put away his wife,” then the Pharisees would have gleefully quoted Deut.24.1-2. On the other hand, if the Lord Jesus had answered, “Yes, it is lawful for a man to put away his wife,” then the Pharisees would have gleefully quoted Gen.2.24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” There seemed to be no way out of this impasse: the Lord’s enemies had apparently put Him in an impossible position. But their attempt to out-wit and out-manoeuvre Him utterly failed. His answer satisfied both passages. But undaunted, the Pharisees, with the Herodians, later faced the Lord Jesus with another apparent dilemma, only to be silenced again. See Matt.22.15-22. He proved to be the complete Master of the situation on both occasions.
We should carefully note the way in which the Lord dealt with the Pharisees’ questions. He silenced His enemies by explaining both passages. For their purposes, the Pharisees were prepared to set one Bible passage against another. They would do just anything to achieve their end. But their attempt to defeat the Lord Jesus foundered when the relevant Scriptures were carefully explained. This is most important. When two passages appear to contradict each other, or others tell us that there is a contradiction, careful study will resolve the problem. This must involve reference to the context in which any statement is made, and the time at which it is made. It must also involve recognition that all Scripture must be interpreted with reference to God’s original, and unchanged, purpose. This will now become very clear as we listen to the Lord’s teaching. He makes two important points:
a. The Institution of Marriage by God
We must notice, first of all, that the Lord Jesus answered the Pharisees by citing God’s original and unchanged purpose in marriage, “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh?” Mark carefully preserves the emphasis here, “But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female.” The Lord Jesus cited Gen.1.27 as well as 2.24. This, in itself, clearly answers any suggestion of evolution. He confirmed the creation of Adam and Eve, which is not at all surprising when we remember that, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made,” Jn.1.3. The words, “let not man put asunder” are not qualified. “It is left open whether the reference is to one of the two parties concerned, or an intruder who may seek to wreck the marriage, or to an official who would pronounce a decree of divorce” (H.St.John).
God has made His mind perfectly clear on the subject of divorce: “For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away,” Mal.2.16. It should be the desire of every believer to fulfil God’s revealed will in relation to marriage, and therefore divorce should never be contemplated. Having said this, we must now address the details in Deut.24.1-4. This brings us to:
b. The Provision For Divorce Through Moses
It has been suggested Moses had no direct divine authority for making provision for divorce, and that this is supported by the Lord’s words, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives,” Matt.18.8. Needless to say, this is a very dangerous argument which, if conceded, could cast doubt on all the “statutes and judgments” in the book of Deuteronomy! Whilst, as we have seen, the Lord Jesus cited God’s original and unchanged purpose for marriage, the fact remains that in answer to His question, “What did Moses command you?”, the Pharisees rightly replied, “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away,” Mk.10.3-4. The Lord Jesus now explains the provision: “For the hardness of your heart (the heart of the men) he wrote you this precept,” Mk.10.5: “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts (the hearts of the men), suffered you to put away your wives,” Matt.19.8. The words, “hardness of your heart,” indicating a hard, even inhuman, character, are explained in Deut.24. We should notice:
- The provision refers to the beginning of married life. “When a man taketh a wife, and marrieth her” (v1, JND). In his book Modern Trends in Morality (its shortened title), Wm. T. McBride points out that this “could not refer to a well established marriage. The Hebrew text requires the reader to understand this woman to be newly married” (p.56).
- The provision cites “some uncleanness in her,” v1. Needless to say, the “uncleanness” was certainly not adultery. The penalty for adultery was death. See Deut. 22.22. It has been suggested that this verse can only be interpreted as fornication which took place during the betrothal period and which was discovered by the husband after he had married his wife. If so, then why is it not specifically stated, as it is in 22.14,17, “I found her not a maid?” If a man charged his wife with infidelity during the betrothal period, and it was unproven, “she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days,” vv.13-19. If proven, then she was to be stoned, vv.20-22.
Very clearly, the “uncleanness” refers, not to any moral uncleanness or sin on the part of the woman, but to uncleanness of a physical nature arising from normal bodily functions. This conclusion is based on the fact that the expression “some uncleanness” (ervat-davar) occurs in Deut.23.13-14 with reference to the burial of effluent, “And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shall turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: for the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp … that He see no unclean thing (ervat-davar) in thee, and turn away from thee.” Whilst this does not mean that both passages refer to the same circumstances, we can at least conclude that the “uncleanness” in Deut.24.1 refers to a bodily emission. The suggestion that this refers to Lev.15.24, which effectively forbids physical relationship at the time cited in the passage, is certainly not unreasonable. Wm. T. McBride helpfully points out that the word rendered “defiled” (Deut.24.4) is the same root word (his emphasis) as the defilement in Lev.15.24-25, and concludes, with justification, that “This ignominious behaviour on the part of the man had most likely arisen … from his frustration over the instruction in Lev.15.24 forbidding physical relationship during a woman’s days of issue and for seven days thereafter” (ibid. p.55). In context we can only conclude that no physical union had occurred.
- The provision therefore safeguards the woman against a loveless future. Since the man had demonstrated, on the very threshold of his marriage, a lack of patience and thoughtful care, which the Lord Jesus calls “hardness … of heart,” he was to ‘write her a letter of divorce, and give it into her hand, and send her out of his house’ (JND). After all, if he behaved out of “hardness … of heart” in the first days of marriage, his future conduct beggars description. “It was for her own safety that she was allowed a divorce on the basis of no return to this man, ever in the future” (Wm.T McBride, ibid. p.56).
- The provision ensured that the woman could remarry. “And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife,” v.2. There is no reference to this being an “abomination before the Lord,” and “causing the land to sin,” v.4.
- The provision prohibited remarriage to the original man. “And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement … or if the latter husband die … her former husband … may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled …,” vv.3-4. According to Wm. T. McBride, the grammatical form of the words “after that she is defiled,” literally “has been defiled,” “suggests that the defilement arises from the woman herself and not from an outside source” (his emphasis). He suggests the following rendering: “Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, forasmuch as (even though) her defilement was only temporary; for that is abomination before the Lord” (ibid. pp.58-59).
The reason is clearly spelt out: “for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance,” v.4. As Raymond Brown points out, “Ideally, marriage was for life and, if partners thought for a moment that they were free to change their marital allegiance backwards and forwards, they had to know that such conduct would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord.” It has to be said that the utter marital confusion in society today has made our “land to sin,” for “righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people,” Prov.14.34.
2. PROTECTING EARLY MARRIAGE, v5
The contrast cannot be more pronounced. The opening paragraph of this chapter refers to a “hard-hearted” husband with no desire to act responsibly and with care towards his wife. Now we have something so refreshingly different! There can be no doubt that this is a deliberate paragraph arrangement! “When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.” This has been rendered, “be happy with the wife which he has taken” and “enjoy the wife he has taken.” The Lord is deeply concerned for the preservation of marriage and the establishment of happy family life. In the words of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary, this “diminished or removed occasions for the divorces just mentioned.” As Raymond Brown observes, the statute protected “the young bride from the dangers of an early widowhood. If her husband had to go out and fight within weeks of their wedding, he might easily lose his life on the battlefield, leaving her (and possibly an unborn child) destitute.” It is to be hoped that the husband — home for a year — did not “get under his wife’s feet!” But in all seriousness, marriage should be regarded as an opportunity to contribute to each other’s happiness, not an opportunity for self-gratification and self-centredness.
— to be continued (D.V.)
By Ian W. Gibson (Winnipeg, Canada)
The Truth of Gathering in Pattern — John 20.19-20
The risen Lord has already appeared first to Mary, and now the disciples are assembled. These are fearful men, the doors shut “for fear of the Jews.” Suddenly and miraculously, the Lord appears and “stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” His glorified, resurrection body was not subject to physical constraints. He had passed clean out of the grave clothes, and clean out of the tomb, and now He miraculously appears in the midst of the disciples, bringing peace to their troubled and frightened hearts. The occasion typifies countless gatherings of believers since, the present gatherings of the saints. The Church did not come into existence until the day of Pentecost, after the Lord had ascended back to heaven. But we have here foreshadowed the pattern of assembly gatherings, with Christ as the central focal point of every gathering. In v.20 we read, “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.” They literally saw Him in their midst, and when we gather, we are glad to see Him by the eye of faith.
The Spirit is careful to record for us that the day of His resurrection was “the first day of the week” — the same day when the risen Christ thus came and stood in the midst of His gathered disciples. It is the morrow after the Sabbath, the fulfilment of the feast of Firstfruits, Lev.23. The Lord thus puts His sanction upon the gathering of His saints on that specific day, the first of the week, to remember Him. The other New Testament references to the first of the week show clearly that it was the practice of the early Church to gather together on this day. In Acts 20, Paul and his companions were at Troas, and they abode there seven days, clearly waiting to gather “upon the first day of the week … to break bread,” Acts 20.7. Paul preached that day till midnight, and they departed the next morning, but they did not gather on the first of the week to specifically hear Paul, they gathered to break bread. And this was not merely a local custom at Troas, but it was the pattern of the churches of God. Thus in 1Cor.16.2, Paul reiterates to the assembly at Corinth his instruction previously given to the churches of Galatia, regarding the collection for the saints, when they gathered “upon the first day of the week.”
In Old Testament times, it was the seventh day, the Sabbath, that was set apart for God, as the fourth commandment of the Decalogue emphasised, Ex.20.8-11. One might ask, “are we not expected to keep the Ten Commandments today, not to obtain salvation, but as those who are saved, surely we ought not to be breaking any of them?” Of those Ten Commandments, the other nine have to do with relationship to God, and moral behaviour towards humanity; but the fourth commandment of keeping the Sabbath holy is primarily ceremonial. In the New Testament, the spirit of the nine other commandments is to be found in many places. That we give God first place, we worship only deity, we honour parents, we display love to all, we do not murder, steal, lie, commit adultery, covet etc. is found in the teaching of Christ and in the exhortations of the epistles. Thus Rom.8.4, “The righteousness (righteous requirements) of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” The accuracy of Scripture ought to be noted. It does not say, “the law might be fulfilled by us” but “in us.” A person moving under the control of the Holy Spirit will fulfill these moral requirements, but not as matter of necessity and law keeping. But in Christianity, there is no obligation to keeping the ceremonial aspects of Judaism; Gal.4.9-10 “how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days and months and times and years;” Col.2.16 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.”
The difference between the Sabbath and the first of the week is fundamental; the one is Judaism and the other is Christianity. The seventh day, the Sabbath of rest, marked the end of man’s week of work. But the first of the week takes us away from man’s work completely, to the totally new order of the new creation of God, founded entirely upon the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We recognise that human flesh and works are set aside as worthless, and that our redemption is accomplished in the risen Christ, our hearts delight in the risen and exalted and glorified Man, “we rejoice (glory) in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,” Phil.3.3.
In the Church, we are not linked with the Lord before Calvary. There was no Church until the risen Lord had ascended and was glorified at God’s right hand. Our links are entirely with a Man who is on the other side of death, raised and exalted in heaven. We remember, on the first of the week, the risen Christ; Rev.1.18, “I am He that liveth, and was dead: and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” If Calvary was a day of shame and sorrow and apparent defeat for our Lord, the first of the week was His day of victory and triumph, when He was fully vindicated, raised by the mighty power of God and “raised up from (among) the dead by the glory of the Father,” Rom.6.4.
The first of the week is therefore very precious to us, when we enjoy the peace, v.19, and gladness, v.20, of gathering to the risen Christ, with the knowledge that He is no longer on the cross, the tomb is empty, and we gather around our risen Lord. In v.19, we see the peace of knowing the risen Christ in the midst, He says to those troubled fearful men “Peace be unto you.” In v.20, the Lord shows them those wounds of Calvary, not His hands and feet (as in Lk.24) but His hands and side. The disciples knew of three individuals crucified at Calvary; all had wounds on hand and feet, but Jn.19 tells us that only one blessed Man had a wound in His side. It could only be the risen Christ who could show them His hands and His side, and “then (therefore) were the disciples glad,” immediately enjoying that peace, fear of the outside world had been dispelled. There is the peace and gladness associated with knowing that the power of death is broken, the peace of His close presence. This is the comfort of our gathering with the risen Christ in the midst.
Many things in this world are a potential cause for real fear. But all our hopes for time and eternity are secured for us in the risen Man of Calvary who is alive, in heaven exalted and glorified. It will be fresh appreciation of His risen presence in our midst, in the centre of our gatherings, that will help dispel all fear in relation to this world, and we can know His peace, even in the face of death. In Acts 7, in that terrifying experience of being stoned to death, Stephen looked up and saw the risen Christ, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God,” Acts 7.56, and there was surely a measure of peace for Stephen even as the stones rained down upon him. As we gather together, with the risen Christ in our midst, we can enjoy the comfort of His peace and His close presence.
In v.20, we see also the cost of our gathering around Christ, “His hands and His side,” those unique wounds of our Lord at Calvary. It necessitated His suffering and death to fit each one of us for His holy presence. It required His precious shed blood that we might enjoy gathering with Christ in the midst. Every time we gather to Him, we are surely caused to appreciate Calvary, and His sacrifice for us, and what it cost Him to redeem us to God.
Yet, that immense cost of gathering is also the confidence of our gathering. This was the first time these disciples had ever gathered together on the ground of a finished work. Every time we gather, it is on the ground of the finished work of Christ on the cross; His sacrifice is the absolute confidence of our gathering. We gather knowing that from that pierced side there flowed the “blood and water,” Jn.19.34, the answer to all our need. The blood is God-ward, God has been propitiated, divine requirements satisfied by the precious blood of Christ. The water is man-ward, for cleansing from the guilt of sins. There at Calvary, God was eternally satisfied and all our need was met by the finished work of Christ. The blood and water from His pierced side, the wounds of Calvary, are the confidence of our gathering.
No doubt, when the Lord appeared in the midst of the disciples, every eye was fastened upon Him alone. So too when we gather, we must keep our gaze fixed by faith upon Christ in our midst. Often saints become discouraged, perhaps cease to attend the gatherings regularly, because when they gather, they are focused upon the rest of the saints. They see all the failings, weaknesses and inconsistencies of the saints, and they feed upon that, and thus become discouraged. If we could but keep our eyes fixed upon Christ in the midst, there will not be discouragement or disappointment. There will always be imperfections in the saints, but there is no failure and no imperfection in Christ who is in our midst. So when we gather, we must keep occupied with Him alone, feed only upon Him, saturate our souls in the wondrous truth that He is in our midst, and if we do that we will always be encouraged.
Furthermore, with the great privilege of His presence, there comes great responsibility. Our assemblies must be morally suitable for His holy presence, and we as individual saints each have a responsibility to ensure that this is the case. This is not a matter of outward correctness, but of inward holiness. The truth of Christ as the centre of gathering should greatly influence our attitude, our behaviour, our deportment, our general demeanour and the way we conduct ourselves when we gather. We won’t consistently arrive late for the gatherings when we have a deep realisation that the Lord is there; we can’t barge into His hallowed presence. There should be a holy calm prevailing if His presence is properly realised; a dignity, an order, a reverence that is appropriate to the fact that we are gathering with Christ in our midst. Such feelings can even find expression in outward appearance and dress, for when we gather to be with Christ, as His invited guests, we ought to show the appropriate respect for His hallowed presence in every possible way that we can.
—to be concluded (D.V.)
by James M. Flanigan (N. Ireland)
PAPER 5 — COUNSELLOR
They were not exactly friends of the Lord Jesus who said, “Never man spake like this Man,” Jn.7.46. They were officers sent by the Pharisees and chief priests to apprehend the Saviour, v.32. How much or how little they heard Him speak we cannot tell but they had heard sufficient to feel the power of His ministry. They could not have known, being Romans, that one of His great titles was “Counsellor” and that He spoke with authority on every subject necessary for man’s spiritual welfare.
In Jn.1.18 it is said, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” The word “declared” (Gk. exegeomai) is the word from which is derived the English word “exegesis”. It means “to tell out; to unfold; to interpret; to make known,” and the Son who dwells in the bosom of the Father, and who alone knows the Father, has come into our world to declare Him. He is the Counsellor in everything related to God and to things spiritual and without Him we should not know the Father. As He Himself said, “No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him,” Lk.10.22. The Counsellor has made Him known.
It may be worth considering that there is perhaps nothing that is afterward expounded in more detail in the Epistles which cannot be found, at least in germ form, in embryo, in the spoken ministry of the Lord Jesus. He has spoken of sin and salvation, of eternity, of heaven and of hell. He has taught the necessity of baptism and He has expounded on local church testimony and of order and discipline in the gatherings. He has outlined a prophetic programme both in relation to the saints and their rapture and the future of Israel and the nations. He it was who introduced the remembrance meeting, the Breaking of Bread so precious to saints all over the world. In His Upper Room ministry on His last evening on earth He taught much about the ministry of the Holy Spirit who was to come and in all of His ministry He emphasised the importance of godly living in the world which was soon to cast Him out.
Where do we begin to reflect on the spoken words of the Counsellor, who spake as never man spake? In reply to this question it may be profitable to see that in Matthew’s Gospel there are recorded six discourses of the Saviour and these give us some picture of the extent of His ministry. They do not in any way record His entire ministry for there are matters in the other Gospels not dealt with in Matthew, but here are fine examples of the things that He taught and of the manner in which He taught them. These discourses are as follows, each one deserving of the closest study for they are the words of Him who is the Counsellor, the divine exponent of truth.
- The Sermon on the Mount, Chs.5-7
- The Charge to the Twelve, Ch.10
- The Parables of the Kingdom, Ch.13
- The Teaching on Forgiveness, Ch.18
- The Denunciation of the Pharisees, Ch.23
- The Olivet Discourse, Chs.24-25
1. The Sermon on the Mount
This great ministry has been called the essence of Christianity. It opens with blessings for godly living, usually called “The Beatitudes”. It introduces a moral order which goes beyond the law. It warns against hypocrisy in all its forms. It exhorts to simple trust in a God who cares for birds and flowers. It gives a beautiful example of prayer with warnings against the vain repetitions characteristic of the heathen, and it assures those who obey that they are building upon solid rock.
2. The Charge to the Twelve
Here are enshrined great principles for those who would be servants of God, as the Twelve were. The sovereignty of God is here, as is the necessary compatibility of the servants. There must be urgency in service coupled with sensitivity to divine leading. Dependency and dignity are alike enjoined upon the servants along with courtesy and humility. There must be sagacity and yet simplicity and there must be loyalty, with expectancy of the Lord’s approval in a coming day. He will truly reward.
3. The Parables of the Kingdom
In seven well-known parables the Counsellor outlines the course and the character of His Kingdom in its mystery form. Well He knows that He will be rejected but that during His absence the true children of the Kingdom will engage in ministry for Him. There will be opposition, imitation, perversion and corruption. A great Christendom will deny His Name and His Word, but there will be a genuine thing on earth too, precious as a pearl, loyal to the King and waiting for His return.
4. The Teaching on Forgiveness
Humility was not an admired feature among the heathen. The Pharaohs of Egypt, the Emperors of the nations, the Caesars of Rome, had little time for it. It was equated with weakness. But the great Counsellor taught His followers that true humility was real strength and greatness. He exhibited all this in Himself and He exhorted others to it. The humility to forgive was to be such a desirable thing among His disciples, not just seven times, as Peter had suggested, but seventy times seven, unlimited. This was greatness indeed and this was the very character of the Master.
5. The Denunciation of the Pharisees
As if in contrast with the Beatitudes of the earlier discourse the Saviour now pronounces a series of eight woes upon the Pharisees and scribes. He loathes and despises their hypocrisy. It was true that they prayed. It was true that they gave alms. It was true that they fasted. But all was done to draw attention to themselves. Their holiest exercises were cloaked in hypocrisy. They prayed at the street corners for all to see them. They trumpeted the fact that they were giving alms and when they fasted their self-denial showed in their sallow countenances so that rather than self-denial it was promotion of self. Our Lord denounced it. May we, in our day, heed the lesson!
6. The Olivet Discourse
Here in this Olivet discourse, sometimes called “The Great Apocalypse”, our Lord deals with the coming of the Son of Man in the day of His manifestation. In an intriguing parallel with the early verses of Revelation ch.6 He predicts the rise of false Christs, deceivers. He foretells of wars and rumours of wars, of famines and pestilences, of disease and death, earthquakes and martyrdoms. But eventually the King will come in His glory to sit upon the throne of His glory and suitably reward His faithful servants. The late Harold St John says very beautifully, “I love to think of Christ in a peasant’s dress sitting on the Mount of Olives and publishing His plans for the future of Europe.” It is the ministry of the infallible, unerring Counsellor.
—to be continued (D.V.)
By R. Plant (England)
Paper 2 — What should we teach the children?
The answer to the above question might seem obvious, however, the author has discovered in his time of working with children, that there are basic rules to be followed and lessons to be learned. A good Scripture to keep in mind when working with the young, is the Lord’s words, “A Sower went forth to sow,” Matt.13.3. That sums up children’s work very well. The seed of the Word of God is sown as far and liberally as it can be and then watered with prayer, while leaving the harvest with God.
What to teach
Teach nothing but the Word of God! Concerning His word, the Lord has promised, “it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” Isa.55.11. Why then should we waste precious time and resources teaching other things when His word is so powerful, so precious and so pure? There is nothing else but the Word of God to bring conviction to the heart and salvation to the soul. We should never be ashamed to use it or read it to the children. Its constant use and repetition will, in the Lord’s time, result in a work being done for Him. “The entrance of Thy words bringeth light,” Ps.119.130. Why try to bring light by using anything else? Again we are told that “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” Rom.10.17. We must get the Scriptures firmly implanted into the hearts and minds of the young people. Paul writing to Timothy reminded him “that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,” 2Tim.3.15. Therefore, we conclude that we have an all sufficient and more than adequate resource in the Word of God, the Bible. Resting upon this foundation we can build all our teaching around the framework of the Scriptures. This includes our lessons, memory verses, choruses and quizzes. Everything should be based foursquare upon the Bible, the Word of God.
Avoiding Non Scriptural Material
Teach the Scripture is the basic rule! It might sound plain and basic enough but it took the writer around five years to fully appreciate this need. There is so much in the Bible that we should never be short of material. I used to have two stories in an hour the last always being a Bible Story with gospel application but the first being something along the lines of the “Jungle Doctor” fables. The children loved them and to be honest, I enjoyed telling them. The problem was that the children had no trouble remembering the stories but could scarcely remember the application! A complete waste of ten minutes teaching time! Now I tend to use this time in teaching simple doctrine lessons on subjects such as “What is the Bible?”; “Who is God?”; “What the Lord Jesus did,” etc. There is good sound material available for teaching children and certainly plenty available in the Scriptures. We only get the children for perhaps one or at the most two hours a week, so we really should make the best of that time and immerse them in the Scriptures whilst they are with us. It is His word that God promises to bless, not our thoughts, stories and illustrations no matter how eloquently told.
“Brainstorming” is a key word these days. Getting as much information as possible out of a person in a short time. We should do this but by getting as much of the Scriptures into the children as possible in the time that we have available.
Avoiding false profession
One thing in children’s work that is of great concern is the number of false professions that are made. These should be guarded against at all costs, as a false professor is inevitably harder to be won than an unbeliever. It is the easiest thing in the world to get children to profess. The writer has heard of occasions when someone has said something like “All you have to do to be saved is pray a prayer like this,” or “Put up your hands if you want to be saved and I’ll ask the Lord to save you.” There is also a great emphasis on “Asking Jesus into your heart” and “Have you got a clean heart?” etc. This type of approach is at best not Scriptural and at worst totally dishonest. Much of this way of thinking comes from us seeking to apply believers’ truths to unbelievers. For example when David said “Create in me a clean heart O Lord,” he was a saved man seeking cleansing for sin into which he had fallen after salvation. It is not a verse to be used to explain salvation. If we want to see what we should be proclaiming to the lost we use the apostles’ examples in Acts and their teaching in the epistles. If we did that it would bring to an end a lot of the unscriptural language that is so often used among children’s workers today. When their confidence has been won, the children will invariably do whatever they are asked in order to please the speaker. Therefore an important thing to remember is, as Jonah discovered, “Salvation is of the Lord,” Jonah 2.9, and if we sow the seed faithfully we must wait for the Lord to give the increase. Whilst doing this it is important to place before the children the cost of salvation. There always has been and always will be a price to be paid as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. This needs to be emphasised regularly as it will greatly hinder false professions. It will also help to confirm that when a child does say that he or she has been saved, they have considered the matter seriously. We can then be a little surer that under the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, they have come to a realisation of their own sinfulness and the sufficiency of Christ to save for time and eternity.
It is a very sad fact that often in the assemblies of the Lord’s people the Gospel is not proclaimed in its entirety and sad to say sometimes not at all! When the four men brought the sick of the palsy to the Lord they did not miss the mark. Scripture records that they, “let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus,” Lk.5.19. That must always and ever be our aim. To get the children to Jesus! What prevails among adults is just as prevalent among children’s workers who are not willing to offend either children or parents by holding back vital parts of the message of salvation. Hence we often find a lack of importance placed on the blood of Christ or no mention made of it at all. The cross has indeed been made smooth in many areas in order to make it more palatable to those who hear. The resurrection is another neglected subject and yet in almost every chapter of Acts this subject is brought to our attention. At the close of a series of Children’s meetings a number of years ago a dear brother came to me and said, “We don’t hear much about the resurrection these days.” I knew what he meant! I had spent so much time on other subjects that this had been neglected. It is only a risen Christ who can save! The word repentance has been almost completely lost from the gospel platform these days but again with children much must be made of this vital doctrine. Children need to understand the seriousness of their sin and the divine command to hate it and forsake it.
I was greatly distressed many years ago to hear one brother in full time children’s work saying that no mention should ever be made of hell to the children. If this is the case what is the great need of salvation? The children of today’s generation who for the most part are allowed to watch without restraint films that are made to shock and horrify will not be easily scared by the warnings of God’s word on eternal judgement! Of course there is a difference between speaking to children and speaking to adults which will mean that what is taught will be done in a manner more in keeping with the audience but nonetheless with conviction and sincerity. These real and eternal subjects must be brought to the children’s attention if the full gospel is to be proclaimed. Stick to the Word of God and leave the results with God but also be aware that opposition will be encountered.
Avoiding Non Scriptural Choruses!
Another difficulty that is noticeable as I travel round the country is the very poor quality of the choruses that are used in our meetings. It is my firm conviction that perhaps ninety percent of our chorus material is unsuitable or unscriptural and should be consigned to the waste bin! There are an increasing number of choruses that are being introduced to Sunday Schools or sung at children’s meetings that have no message at all or at worst put the child in the position of a believer! So many of our choruses are sung because they have catchy tunes loved by the children (and often the believers) but with little or no Scriptural content. I worry sometimes as to whether some of the saints really do know what the difference is between catchy tunes and Biblical truth! The chorus for instance “Who put the colours in the rainbow?” might be alright in primary school (where I hear it sung so often) but to waste time singing two verses to a catchy tune for a one line message, “God made all of these,” is both a waste of time and breath, especially when good Bible based choruses full of gospel truth could have been used. Sad to say good sound choruses are not easy to come by (it took me nearly ten years to be happy with the ones I use in children’s meetings) but they can be obtained and should be used instead of much of the nonsense and Scripturally unsound ones so often sung. No wonder we see so few saved in our Sunday Schools and Children’s meetings. How much better it would be to have the children leaving our meetings with the words to good gospel based choruses passing through their minds than that of some of the light and shallow choruses that are so often used and sung.
—to be continued (D.V.)
by C. Jones (Wales)
Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm in that it tells us of the Person and work of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was written by David, Acts 4.25, and when quoted in the New Testament each quotation refers to the Lord, Acts 4.25-28; 13.33; Heb.1.5; 5.5; Rev.2.27; 12.5; 19.15. The Psalm is concerned with future events and the gathering storm that lies ahead for this world as the leaders of the nations scheme, plan and plot and, ultimately, gather together in rebellion against God and His beloved Son, vv.1-3. Nothing can hinder or prevent the fulfilment of the plans and intentions of Almighty God who “ruleth in the kingdom of men,” Dan.4.17, and He will install His King on Mount Zion, vv.4-6. In the Millennium, this King, the Lord Jesus Christ, will rule the world righteously and justly, and any rebellion will be put down immediately, vv.7-9. Rulers are graciously advised to be wise, to serve the Lord and be blessed by Him, vv.10-12.
The rulers take counsel together, vv.1-3
In the first three verses of Ps.2, we learn that enmity, hatred, hostility and rebellion against Almighty God will result in evil men raging and taking counsel together to throw off all restraints imposed upon them by God, and by His Son. Ungodly men use their minds to “imagine” evil, v.1. The word translated “imagine” here is translated “meditate” in Ps.1.2. The godly man uses his mind to meditate on the Word of God under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He is obedient to the will of God and prospers, Ps.1.2,3; 1Pet.2.2. Both God and Satan want to control our minds. We are told “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Rom.12.2.
Toward the end of the Great Tribulation, kings, rulers and people will “take counsel together,” v.2. They will try to prevent the Lord Jesus Christ from ruling over this world. Having a common aim will sometimes cause those whose relationships were formerly strained, or who were antagonistic to each other, to unite against what they see as a common threat to them all. So it was when the Jews, Gentiles, Herod and Pilate united against the Lord, Acts 4.26,27. They thought, when He was crucified, that they had gained the victory and had rid themselves of Him. All their wrath, anger, scheming and plotting, however, only achieved the fulfilment of God’s will, Acts 2.23, and His plan of salvation which was made before the foundation of the world, 1Pet.1.20.
In these days in which we live, there is an upsurge against authority on every hand. There are attempts to throw off all restraints and controls on behaviour. Laws are being passed which are against the revealed will of God and there are corruptions and scandals in high places. Discipline is breaking down in educational establishments, in society, in homes and in individual lives. People do not want rule and authority. Men seek freedom to do that which is right in their own eyes, Jud.17.6, not realising that they are in bondage to sin and to Satan, whereas the believer is promised that “sin shall not have dominion over you,” Rom.6.14. The enemies of God and of the Lord have always said effectively “We will not have this Man to reign over us,” Lk.19.14.
God is “rich in mercy,” Eph.2.4. He is the “God of all grace,” 1Pet.5.10, and in His love, mercy and grace He “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,” Rom.8.32, so that we might be saved. He loves the world, Jn.3.16, but the majority of men will not turn to Him in repentance and faith. We live in a time when there is a vast increase in knowledge, and when men’s hearts are “failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth,” Lk.21.26. Men rush from one place to another trying to find solutions to the problems, chaos and anarchy which are coming about in the world, Dan.12.4. They will not turn to God but look elsewhere for solutions to their problems. We read “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked,” Isa.48.22, and “our God is a consuming fire,” Heb.12.29, and again, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” Heb.10.31. Men, in their pride and arrogance, ignore God or take His name lightly on their lips. His laws cannot be flouted with impunity, and whatever men or nations sow, so shall they reap, Gal.6.7. Things are in a bad way but they will get even worse, for the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer, 1Cor.6.19, prevents the full extent of evil from being unleashed. However, when the Lord Jesus comes back for believers, 1Thess.4.16,17, and takes us to be with Himself for ever, then the Spirit will no longer be here to restrain, 2Thess.2.7. The terrible consequences of this are unimaginable.
Yet have I set My King, vv.4-6
God is omnipotent, He is in full and constant control of all things and is ordering everything so that His perfect will is done. As we watch events unfolding in the world, those of us who are believers can take comfort in knowing that “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world,” 1Jn.4.4. Men are rebelling now, and will rebel in the future, against the Lord, who “shall have them in derision,” v.4. The word translated “Lord” in this verse is Adonai, that is, Sovereign Lord, Ruler, Master or Owner, the One who must be obeyed. Men are proud of their logic and ability to solve problems. God has indeed made us “fearfully and wonderfully,” Ps.139.14; Gen.1.1; Col.1.16,17, but we are finite and God is infinite in every aspect of His Being. It is illogical, irrational and ludicrous for frail, mortal man to oppose the Almighty God. God laughs the laugh of derision, v.4, because of man’s foolishness. Opposition to the Holy, Omnipresent, Omniscient God results, inevitably, in the outpouring of His holy wrath, v.5. When the battle of Armageddon takes place, the enemies of God will be defeated by His Son, His Anointed, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God speaks as if that which is future has already been accomplished, for there is no power which can prevent His will from being done. He says, “Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion,” v.6. God will establish the Lord Jesus Christ as King in Zion, that is, Jerusalem, and during the Millennium He will rule over the whole world in absolute power, Isa.2,3,4. Then there will be the true peace, prosperity, stability and happiness that men have longed for.
Thou art My Son, vv.7-9
The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of the eternal God, and in eternity past, God declared the Lord’s eternal Sonship when He said to Him, “Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten thee,” v.7. These words are quoted in Acts 13.33,34 in connection with His incarnation and resurrection, in Heb.1.5 referring to His superiority over angels, and in Heb.5.5 in connection with His perpetual priesthood. He was referred to as Son when He was born, Lk.1.35; when He was baptised, Lk.3.22, and when He was transfigured, Lk.9.35.
God, His Father, will give to His Son all people and the entire earth, v.8. These are the things the Lord refused when Satan offered them to Him, Matt.4.8-10. During the Millennium, the Lord’s rule will be absolute, just and righteous, and no opposition will be tolerated. He will rule “with a rod of iron,” v.9; Rev.2.27; 12.5; 19.15.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him, vv.10-12
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” Prov.9.10, and the Psalm closes with a gracious exhortation by the Holy Spirit to the kings and rulers of the earth, v.10, advising them to be wise and serve the Lord with reverence and godly fear, v.11. The leaders are told to “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,” v.12. This is the kiss of homage and subjection, 1Sam.10.1, unlike Judas’ kiss of betrayal, Lk.22.48.
Today, rebellious men are still being graciously offered peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom.5.1, for He “made peace through the blood of His cross,” Col.1.20, and “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,” 1Jn.1.7. Sinners can be saved through His shed blood, Heb.9.22. Believers are justified by His blood and shall be saved from the coming wrath through Him, Rom.5.9.
God does not want us to be separated from Him eternally, suffering for our sins, Ezek.33.11, and the Spirit still works to convict men of sin, righteousness and judgment, Jn.16.8-11. There is an urgency in the Spirit’s words, for He says “Be wise now …,” v.10. There is always urgency in connection with the offer of salvation. The stress is always on the need to be saved now, that is today, for we are not promised tomorrow, Prov.27.1; 2Cor.6.2.
As we meditate on the Word of God, we learn that sin and unhappiness go together. Temporary happiness can be found in enjoying “the pleasures of sin for a season,” Heb.11.25, but, sooner or later, sin results in unhappiness. On the other hand, holiness, righteousness, peace and happiness go together, both in this life and eternally. Happiness cannot be found when it is sought after as an end in itself, but it is a result of knowing and obeying God, and “happy is that people, whose God is the Lord,” Ps.144.15. We learn that the man who has been saved, whose “transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered … unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,” Ps.32.1,2, is blessed, that is, a happy man. The man who is saved and trusts in God is a happy man, Ps.34.8; Ps.40.4; Ps.84.12. We learn, in the first two verses of Ps.1, that the blessed, the happy man is the man who leads a life which is separated from the world and to God. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the only entirely righteous, holy, sinless Man who ever walked on this earth. He lived His life in complete obedience to God His Father, Phil.2.8. He was the truly blessed and happy Man of Ps.1.1,2, but He became the forsaken Man of Ps.22.1 so that a sinful, rebellious man, like the man of Ps.14.1, might become the blessed and happy man of Ps.32.1,2. Those of us who have been saved can rejoice, knowing that we are blessed because our sins have been forgiven, Rom.4.7,8, and we can praise and thank God, knowing that “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him,” v.12.
—to be continued (D.V.)
by J. A. Davidson (N. Ireland)
Fifty years have passed from the day of salvation and it is now almost 40 years since my first series of Gospel meetings. Therefore anything that is written can only be penned to the glory of God for His saving grace and preserving mercies.
So simple is the story of my conversion that as a young believer, I thought I would never have to tell publicly how I got saved. Who would be interested in the salvation of a schoolboy? Over the years, I have learned to appreciate more and more, the memory of saved parents who sheltered me from the world and desired the salvation of their only boy above anything else.
God first spoke to me through the sudden death of a little playmate and then by an almost fatal accident on my bicycle. I had such a fear of death that I could not lie in bed on my left side and listen to my heart beating. Many mornings I awoke thankful to hear my father going out to work. Another day had dawned, the Lord had not come during the night and I had another opportunity to go to the meetings to hear the Gospel.
At the age of twelve, we moved house and after a few months, Gospel meetings came to the village. I had been to many Gospel meetings and wondered if I would ever be numbered among the Christians. I longed to know that the great barrier of my sins was removed, to be ready for eternity and the Lord’s Return. Mr. T. McKelvey and Mr. J. Martin were the preachers and I made up my mind to seek salvation with all my heart. I tried to trust, to believe, to have faith. I felt that if I missed salvation this time, the spirit of God might not strive again. For three weeks, I read my Bible constantly and struggled night and day. “I wandered alone in the darkness, not a ray of light could I see.” In the fourth week, on the Tuesday night, I gave up hope. I really thought I had settled it for hell and acknowledged that God was right in sending me there after all the Gospel I had heard. I was so exhausted, I fell asleep.
On Wednesday morning 24th July 1957 I awoke at 8.30 am and immediately I began to think about Isa.53.5, “He was wounded for our transgressions.” I could repeat, from early Sunday school days, the last three verses of ch.52 and the whole of Isa.53. I believed all that the Bible said. I gave mental assent to the fact that He had died on the Cross for sinners. I remembered in the past well intentioned but ill guided people telling me to put my name into that verse.
That morning it appealed to me like this. Faith gives God credit for telling the truth. God’s word said, “He was wounded for my transgressions” and faith says “with His stripes I am healed.” I remember saying to myself “that must be it. That is it.” I resolved to tell no one until I went to the Gospel meeting and heard it again. At 9.00 am I was in the kitchen. My mother must have noticed something to cause her to ask me, “Have you got saved?” How could I not tell her? That night my father was at the prayer meeting before I arrived and as I went into the portable hall, Mr. McKelvey was giving out number 29 in the Gospel Hymn Book. That night I went three rows further up and sang in reality for the first time “’tis done the great transaction’s done.”
God first encouraged me when over a period of a few years five teenage girls in my Sunday school class got saved. Upon graduating in Civil Engineering I resolved to get a ‘9 to 5’ job where I would not have to take work home. This freed up my evenings for the assembly meetings and the preaching of the Gospel. Because the local company was small I found myself having assembly responsibilities in my mid 20’s. The burden of shepherd care among the flock of God leads to experiences vital for later life.
During those years another brother and I purchased a second hand portable hall and began to have Gospel meetings. So I had twenty happy years of secular employment by day and preaching the Gospel by night with local assembly responsibilities continuing. The Lord granted fruitful meetings with seven full time servants of the Lord and five local brethren. We had the joy of seeing souls saved, baptised and continue in the fellowship of twenty assemblies.
“Prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it,” Mal.3.10. God began to lay an exercise upon our hearts about full time service. My wife was completely with me in this burden but I realised I had to prove God at home in ‘Jerusalem’. In 1988 I was having meetings with Mr. George McKinley at the Diamond, County Armagh, when over one weekend, my son and daughter both told that they had got saved. In 1989 with a local brother I felt exercised to try Gospel meetings in a portable hall in our own town. As a result of these two series of meetings, we saw five baptised and added to the local assembly. Since commendation we have again seen blessing in our home assembly.
I spoke to my brethren about commendation and they confirmed their fellowship when the way would open up for me to resign from my employment. However, God brought about the final test and an experience of deep grief and sorrow. My wife had serious surgery and after a period of time it became evident that she was terminally ill. The saints prayed fervently for my wife’s recovery but it became evident that the Lord would call her home. For a time, I had to cancel all meetings and care for my sick wife. This experience brought us closer to the Lord, closer to each other and gave us precious times when the material things of life lost all value compared to “the purposes of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will,” Eph.1.11.
I had reached the stage where to go forward was very costly but I knew that to go back was disobedience. We each bowed to God’s Will and for my dear wife in January 1994 it became, “very far better.” In February, I informed my employer that I wished to resign my post. Again, God confirmed my exercise, this time in a most remarkable way. Without my prior knowledge my employer brought in a scheme of voluntary redundancy in April of that year. Upon completion of two contracts on which I had been working I was released with sufficient funds to purchase a new hall, a new tent and a second hand container. I was also able to finance my first visits to Russia.
Thus step-by-step, conscious of much weakness and failure, sometimes in unexpected ways, but always to His glory, the Lord led me in the way. In August 1994 walking in the midnight sun of northern Siberia, the Lord’s words were real to me; “Ye shall be witness unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth,” Acts 1.8.
Our beloved brother, who was a committee member of this magazine for almost 40 years, was called home to be with the Lord on 13th February 2008. Remarkably this was exactly 70 years after he was saved as a lad of 16.
James was born on 4th October 1938 and as a boy was greatly troubled about the coming again of the Lord Jesus. He sought for salvation and found peace on 13th February 1938 when he read Isa.53.5 in a personal and possessive way: “But He was wounded for MY transgressions, He was bruised for MY iniquities: the chastisement of MY peace was upon Him; and with His stripes I am healed.” He confessed, “There and then I just took it in, as if there was not another soul in the whole world, only myself. He died for me and resting on God’s precious Word, with His stripes I am healed.”
He developed spiritually and was known as a man of steadfastness and conviction. He loved the Son of God, the Word of God, the people of God and the Assembly of God. As the committee of this magazine discussed various issues, his wise counsel was greatly appreciated. He was far seeing and seemed to be able to anticipate clearly where a decision could lead.
Some 16 years ago he had a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair. This did not quench his love for Divine things but as the years went by he became weaker. He suffered a heavy blow when his beloved wife Elizabeth was called home about 18 months before his own death. Again, as was his wont, he sought to serve the Lord as his strength enabled. However, he became ill again and died peacefully at home and was buried in Buckna on 16th February. The very large company was indicative of how highly he was regarded.
Such men are missed and are hard to replace. The following quotation is very apt, “Remember your leaders who have spoken to you the word of God; and considering the issue of their conversation, imitate their faith” Heb.13.7 (JND).
It is widely regarded that global warming is the greatest problem facing the world presently. Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have concluded that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.” Recent noticeable changes in weather patterns around the world seem to confirm their findings, with some countries experiencing heat waves and drought while others have been subjected to unprecedented flooding.
Money, effort, time and other resources are being poured into monitoring the causes and catastrophic effects of this alarming phenomenon. International meetings at the highest level have been and are being arranged to discuss ways of limiting the production of “greenhouse gases” and reducing other factors contributing to the recent warming of the earth. Frequent travellers, especially those who travel by plane, are encouraged to consider their “carbon footprints” and governments are prepared to levy punitive taxes to force people to take this problem seriously.
It is amazing that while rightly, this major problem is viewed with a measure of alarm, fear and concern, the vastly greater problem of SIN is almost totally disregarded and yet every other problem afflicting our world today is but a by-product of the mother of all problems — SIN. It affects every human being, in every land, whatever their language or culture and in fact impacts on every part of creation including mankind, fauna and flora.
Are you concerned about your sins? If not dealt with, they will have eternal consequences for you personally. Do not bury your head in the sand and hope the problem will just go away. Do not pretend that it is not as serious as some make it out to be and that eventually the love of God will override the problem and all will be admitted to heaven, regardless of how they have lived here, in spite of their sinful practices, their rebellion against the commandments of God and their rejection of Christ.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” Galatians 6.7: “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear,” Isaiah 59.2: “For the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6.23.
In fact the problem of our sin was so great that God Himself undertook to solve it, considering no action too extreme or cost too extravagant to “purge our sins,” Hebrews 1.3. He sent His only begotten Son into the world, so that He, upon the cross, would bear the full penalty of our sins and be punished in our stead that we might be pardoned. He suffered that we might be saved; He was bruised that we might be blessed; wounded that we might be welcomed to heaven.
Though totally helpless yourself, you are invited to trust Christ, who did ALL that God justly demanded for the righteous removal of our sins. There is no other solution to this greatest of problems. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” Acts 16.31
I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. – Phil.4.11
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto thee. – John 14.27
- In the silence I have heard Him;
- Oh, the music of His voice!
- “Peace I give thee, be not troubled,
- Let thy heart and soul rejoice.”
- Yes, I’ve found my Lord sufficient,
- For He meets my every need,
- Satisfies my soul’s deep longings,
- Guards and guides each thought and deed.
Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. – Eccles.11.1
I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. Isa.50.4
- Fear not to cast thy bread upon
- An ever-widening stream;
- God has a place for every crumb
- In His eternal scheme.
- Perhaps a weary, tired saint
- Beset with doubt and care,
- Will find a word of needed truth
- In answer to his prayer.
- The children of the promise, Rom.9.8; Gal.4.28;
- The word of promise, Rom.9.9;
- That Holy Spirit of promise, Eph.1.13;
- The covenants of promise, Eph.2.12;
- Partakers of His promise, Eph.3.6;
- The heirs of promise, Heb.6.17;
- The land of promise,
THINGS OF PROMISE
by H. A. Barnes (England)