Oct 29, 2011

He will visit their transgression with the rod - Israel Atkinson

Respecting the penalty of disobedience to Christians, two or three things require to be premised Disobedience is, frequently chargeable upon them. If any Christians say they have no sin they deceive themselves ; and if they say they have not sinned, they make God a liar. In many things we offend all, both against moral and against Christian law. Further, God, as King and Father, in his economical dealings with his subjects and children, punishes them for their transgressions ; but this punishment, it should be observed; is wholly independentof,. And difterent from the judicial. penalty of their sins, which was borne alone by their Surety, when he was wounded for their transgressions and bruised for their iniquities. Further, that in all economical punisliments God never deals. with his children after their sins, nor rewards them, according to , their iniquities (Psa.: ciii; 10 ;) but which is wholly unlike the Judicial penalty borne by Christ he ever punishes them less than their faults deserve. (Ezra. Ix. 13.) `Further, unlike the case of Adam in Eden, and like that of the Jews in Canaan, repentance is admitted to Christian,. For them there is forgiveness with God, that he maybe feared. If they confess their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive them their sins. " If any (Christian) man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father." 1 John i. 1. Yet one thing more: just as the Christian contributes nothing to his salvation by his obedience, so he suffers the loss of nothing that constitutes his salvation by his disobedience. Being entirely of the Lord, this great matter exists wholly independently of Christian obedience, and is altogether unharmed by Christian disobedience; and concerning nothing of all that " God doeth," can it be affirmed more completely and confidently than of " the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory," that nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it." It is immutably true that, " Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom. viii. 29, 30. No obedience of man ever formed a link in that wondrous chain of sequences, which Christians can never enough admire, and no disobedience has ever broken, or ever can break one.

What then is the penalty of Christian disobedience? Much, and many things, the barest contemplation of the least of which may well enough fill a Christian with awe, and lead him to say humbly to God, " My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." But this is a subject which must not be laborated here. Briefly, by their faults, churches may lose their purity of doctrine, their spiritual vitality, their moral honour, their " candlestick," and their organic existence. Ministers may build improper materials on the true foundation, and suffer the loss of their reward ; they may make shipwreck concerning the faith ; they may defile the temple of God, and themselves may be defiled by God; (pheirie, phtherei, 1 Cor. iii. 17 ;) that is, God may put them aside as vessels that are unsanctified and unfit for his, the Master's, use, and they may end their days in that condition which, for himself, Paul so earnestly deprecated and so sedulously endeavoured to avoid, namely, 0 horrible consummation ! that of a castaway. Christians of every condition, although not condemned with the world, are, nevertheless, judged of the Lord. Although their God Still never suffer his loving kindness and faithfulness to fail, yet if they forsake his law, and walk not in his judgments; if they break his statutes, and keep not his commandments, he will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. If they walk contrary to him, he will walk contrary to them. If they sow to their flesh, they shall of the flesh reap corruption. Pride will lead to destruction. A haughty spirit will be followed by a fall. Covetousness will tend to penury. Envy will be the rottenness of the bones. Wrath will bring strife and drive away peace. A lying tongue will be silenced in shame. The house of the idle will drop through. A backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways. Fleshly lusts indulged will become an army with banners warring against the soul. Sin will separate from communion with God, and make all the means of his grace dry breasts. What God said to Israel by Azariah he says to Christians now : " The Lord is with you, while ye be with him ; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you ; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you." Indeed, over and above all of a like kind recorded in the New Testament, having a due regard to existing differences, almost all the promises and threatenings, the reasonings and the invitations which were delivered to the Jews, not only may, but should be, transferred to Christians. Those were to enjoy their Jewish, these are to enjoy their Christian privileges, by keeping the commandments of God. All those promises, and threatenings, and expostulations, and invitations, addressed to the Jews in the typical economy were written, partly, for the learning of Christians. Christians, therefore, should be taught their truth and importance relative to themselves. But the monstrous blunder and criminal folly already alluded to, namely, the use of the language of the law of works addressed to the Jews as that of the law of faith addressed to men in general, cannot be avoided with a too sedulous care, nor, where it is found, be denounced too strongly, by whomsoever it may be committed, or sanctioned.

Solomon: One who had also fallen into manifold faults - James Durham

Solomon was a Great Man, rich, wise, yea, an elect saint; yet one who had also fallen into manifold faults, whom the Lord allowed to die, without recording expressly any thing of his recovery, though we make no doubt of it. (look up reference here) We shall endeavor to make this clear from these considerations:

First, from the Lord's promises to him, 2 Sam. 7:14,15. where these three things are observable which the Lord undertakes concerning him, 1. That he will be to him a Father. 2. That he will correct him with the rods of men, if he shall sin: which says he would not eternally punish him. 3. That he would not do with him as he did with Saul, whom he rejected; he would not take away His mercy from Solomon, as he had done from him: and if no more were in these promises but what is temporal, there would be no great consolation in them to David (whose consolation is one chief part of the intention of that place.) Beside, these promises, Psalm 89:31,32,33. (which are the same as these, 2 Sam. 7.) are looked upon as special evidences of God's Love, and particular promises of His saving-covenant.

2. When he is born, the Lord gives him his name, yea, sends Nathan, 2 Sam. 12. with this warrant, to name him Jedidiah, because the Lord loved him; which cannot be a love arising from any thing in him, as if he had been well pleased with his behavior, (Solomon had not yet done anything good or evil) but it must be a love prior to his works, and so not arising from his good deeds, and therefore not cut off by his sins. This is similar to the love God had to Jacob, before he had done good or evil, Rom. 9:11. and must speak out electing-love, as it doth in that place.

3. He is made use of by the Spirit to be a Penman of Holy Writ, and a prophet of the Lord; all which are by our Lord, Luke 13:28. said, to ‘sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the kingdom of heaven.' There is no reason to exclude him, seeing that universal assertion (all the prophets, &c.) would not be a truth, unless he were there. Although some wicked men have prophesied, as Balaam did, yet are they never accounted prophets of the Lord, as Solomon was, but false prophets and enchanters; neither were they Penman of Holy Writ; who were, as Peter calleth them, 2 Peter 1:21, ‘Holy men of God, speaking as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost.'

4. Neither are the particular privileges and he was admitted unto to be forgotten; by him the Lord built the Temple, by him the covenant was explicitly renewed with God, I Kings 8:9. And his prayers are often particularly mentioned, to be heard; yea after his death, some testimonies are recorded of him, which cannot agree with his rejection: see 2 Chr. 11:17. There the ways of Solomon are put in, as commendable with David's, though there were defects in both; and this being immediately after Solomon's death, it would seem he left the worship of God pure, and so had returned from his idolatry, though all the monuments of it were not abolished. And especially in this, he was singularly privileged, that, in a most lively way, he was the Type of our blessed Lord Jesus, in his intercession, reign, and peaceable government: beside, that by a particular covenant, the kingdom of Christ, and his descent from him, was established to him.

5. It's of weight also, that it seems more than probable, that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes after his recovery; it being neither amongst the Proverbs, nor Songs which are mentioned, I Kings 4:32. And in it, he speaks out of experiences he had both of folly and madness, and the vanity he had found in all created things, even when he had finished his experiment of all the possible ways of attaining, either the knowledge of their perfections, or satisfaction in the enjoyment of them.

The Scriptures therefore, hath not left his recovery altogether dark; yet, as to any historical evidence thereof, the Lord hath so ordered that he passeth away under a cloud, for these good ends:

First, thereby, Solomon is chastened with the rods of men (even after death) upon his name; for his failures are set down expressly, but his recovery (as to any direct testimony thereof) is passed over.

2. By this, the Lord makes his displeasure with Solomon's failures always known; though he had favour to his person, and gave him his soul for a prey.

3. And thus the Lord would warn others from declining, and hereby teach his people, to be afraid to rest upon gifts; yea, or upon graces, seeing he hath left this matter so far in the dark, as might yield an occasion (as it were) to question the eternal condition of Solomon.

4. It may be also, that Solomon after his recovery, did never recover his former lustre, nor attain to such a profitable way of appearing in God's public matters, for which formally he had been so observable: for so it is taken notice of David, after his fall, that his following life is stained, as different from what went before; therefore it is the accommodation of Jehosaphat, 1 Chr. 17:3. that he walked in the first ways of his father David, which certainly, it is not done to condemn David's state after that time, but to leave that mark (as a chastisement) on his failings: and seeing Solomon's were greater, therefore may this silence of his recovery, be more universal as to him.

Isaiah 4:3-4 - Robert Hawker

"And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem." (Isaiah 4:3)

How truly blessed and gracious is it, to see the provision the LORD hath made for the recovery of sinners. Here the HOLY GHOST speaks not only of the blessings of redemption to the church at large, but to every individual redeemed soul in particular. He that is left, and every one that is written. Yes, JESUS saith, All that the FATHER hath given me, shall come to me, John 6:37. And it was for this express purpose JESUS said, that the FATHER gave him power over all flesh; that he should give eternal life to as many as the FATHER had given him, John 17:2. Reader, are you questioning whether you are among the written in the LAMB'S book of life? Revelation 13:8. Answer the inquiry by the tokens here given. A new and spiritual life is given to them in Jerusalem, the holy city, the church of the LORD JESUS. They are called with an holy calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose, and grace given in CHRIST JESUS, before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9. And as many as were. ordained to eternal life, believed, Acts 13:48. Now then see by these infallible testimonies, whether your calling and election is sure, For as many as are led by the spirit of GOD, they are the sons of GOD: And hence, in being saved and called with an holy calling, not according to our works, but his grace; and in believing, having life in his name: surely these become unquestionable evidences, that God hath chosen believers in him before the foundation of the world, and that they should he holy and without blame before him in love, 2 Peter 1:10. Romans 8:14. Ephesians 1:4.

"When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." (Isaiah 4:4)

Here we have the blessed process of grace, by which the LORD will accomplish the divine purposes of his love, in redeeming the souls of his people. The daughters of Zion are here spoken of, as a representation of the whole church of JESUS. So the church is named, Psalm 45:10, 11. This church is considered in her pollutions, such as she was when CHRIST came to redeem her, Ezekiel 16:3-6. But when, in gospel days, JESUS is come, and the fountain in his blood is opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin, and for uncleanness, then the filth of Zion shall be washed away, Zechariah 13:1. 1 John 1:1-7. But how is this to be done? By the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning; meaning, that GOD the HOLY GHOST, in his seven-fold gifts, and by his gracious work on the heart, will glorify JESUS, in taking of the things of CHRIST, and showing their suitableness to the poor sinner. Is the sinner's heart hardened? The HOLY GHOST will be to him a spirit of judgment; convincing, converting, enlightening, teaching him to feel his want of JESUS, and leading him to JESUS. Are his affections cold, and in himself not disposed to seek after salvation? The HOLY GHOST will be to him a spirit of burning; to warm, yea, fire his very soul, in longings for CHRIST, that his sins may be done away, and both his filth and his blood be purged, and purified from all uncleanness. Oh! the wonderful process of grace, when GOD the HOLY GHOST layeth judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, Isaiah 28:17.

Oct 23, 2011

You are a helpless sinner in yourself - William Mason

‎"Farther; though you are a believer in Christ, yet you are a helpless sinner in yourself. "What!" say some, "a converted person, a believer, a child of God—and yet a helpless sinner?" Yes! Infancy itself is not more helpless in natural things, than a believer is in spiritual things. Where then is the difference between a believer and an unbeliever? Essentially in this. The latter is insensible of his own weakness, therefore proudly trusts in, and vainly glories of his own strength. He is under this malediction, "Cursed is the man who makes flesh his arm," Jer. 17:5, "his heart departs from the Lord." But the believer knows and feels, that he is not of himself sufficient to think or do anything holy. He sees constant need of being strengthened by the Spirit's might in the inner man. For blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord; whose hope the Lord is. But do we not grow stronger in ourselves, and find more help and power from ourselves, to withstand our enemies, to fight our good fight, to run our race, and to perfect holiness? No! If we think so, it is plain that we are not growing up into Christ—but growing down into self. If the Lord has given me to know anything of this matter, after being upwards of twenty years in precious Christ, I sincerely declare, that I find myself to be, just that weak, helpless sinner I was when I first came to Jesus with, "Lord help me! Lord save me—or I perish!" Yes, I find myself more helpless now—than I thought myself then. I see more constant need to put on Christ, and to say, truly in the Lord (not in myself) I have strength." (William Mason - The Believer's Pocket Companion)

A Man Full of Leprosy - John Gill

"And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." [Luke 5:12]

And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city,.... Or near it, hard by it, very probably Capernaum; Mat 8:1 Behold a man full of leprosy; a disease to which the Jews were very incident, and concerning which, many laws and rules are given, in Lev 13:1. The symptoms of the ancient "lepra", as laid down by Galen, Aretaeus, Pontanus, Aegineta, Cardan, Varanda, Gordon, Pharaeus, and others, are as follow. The patient's voice is hoarse, and comes rather through the nose than the mouth; the blood full of little white shining bodies, like groins of millet, which upon filtration, separate themselves from it; the serum is scabious, and destitute of its natural humidity, insomuch that salt applied to it, does not dissolve; it is so dry, that vinegar poured on it boils; and is so strongly bound together by little imperceptible threads, that calcined lead thrown into it swims. The face resembles a coal half extinct, unctuous, shining, and bloated, with frequent hard knobs, green at bottom, and white at top. The hair is short, stiff, and brinded; and not to be torn off, without bringing away, some of the rotten flesh, to which it adheres; if it grows again, either on the head or chin, it is always white: athwart the forehead, run large wrinkles or furrows, from one temple to the other; the eyes red and inflamed, and shine like those of a cat; the ears swollen and red, eaten with ulcers towards the bottom, and encompassed with little glands; the nose sunk, because of the rotting of the cartilage; the tongue dry and black, swollen, ulcerated, divided with furrows, and spotted with grains of white; the skin covered with ulcers, that die and revive on each other, or with white spots, or scales like a fish; it is rough and insensible, and when cut, instead of blood, yields a sanious liquor: it arrives in time to such a degree of insensibility, that the wrist, feet, or even the large tendon, may be pierced with a needle, without the patient's feeling any pain; at last the nose, fingers, toes, and even privy members, fall off entire; and by a death peculiar to each of them, anticipate that of the patient: it is added, that the body is so hot, that a fresh apple held in the hand an hour, will be dried and wrinkled, as if exposed to the sun for a week (e). Think now what a miserable deplorable object this man was, said to be full of it. Between this disease and sin, there is a very great likeness. This disease is a very filthy one, and of a defiling nature, by the ceremonial law; under which it was considered rather as an uncleanness, than as a disease; the person attended with it was pronounced unclean by the priest, and was put out of the camp, and out of the cities and walled towns, that he might not defile others; and was obliged to put a covering on his upper lip, and cry Unclean, Unclean, to acknowledge his pollution, and that others might shun him: all mankind, by reason of sin, are by the Lord pronounced filthy; and by their evil actions, not only defile themselves, but others; evil communications corrupt good manners; and when they are made sensible, freely own that their righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and they themselves as an unclean thing: it is a very nauseous and loathsome disease, as is sin; it is abominable to God, and renders men abominable in his sight; it causes the sinner himself, when convinced of it, to loath and abhor himself: David calls his sin a loathsome disease,Psa 38:7 it is of a spreading nature: this was a sign of it, if it did not spread, it was only a, scab; if it spread, it was a leprosy, Lev 13:5. Sin has spread itself over all mankind, and over all the powers and faculties of the soul, and members of the body; there is no place free of it: and as the leprosy is of consuming nature, it eats and wastes the flesh, see Num 12:10 2Ki 5:10 so sin eats like a canker, and brings ruin and destruction upon men, both soul and body. This disease was incurable by medicine; persons that had it were never sent to a physician, but to a priest; and what he did was only this, he looked upon it, and if it was a clear case, he declared the person unclean; and if it was doubtful, shut him up for seven days, and then inspected him again; and after all he could not cure him; this was the work of God, 2Ki 5:7. All which shows the nature and use of the law, which shuts men up, concludes them under sin, and by which they have knowledge of it, but no healing: the law heals none, it is the killing letter, the ministration of condemnation and death; Christ only, by his blood and stripes, heals the disease of sin, and cleanses from it. There is one thing in the law of the leprosy very surprising, and that is, that if there was any quick raw flesh, or any sound flesh in the place where the leprosy was, the man was pronounced unclean; but if the leprosy covered his skin, and all his flesh, then he was pronounced clean: this intimates, that he that thinks he has some good thing in him, and fancies himself sound and well, and trusts to his own works of righteousness, he is not justified in the sight of God; but if a man acknowledges that there is no soundness in his flesh, that in him, that is, in his flesh, dwells no good thing, but that his salvation is alone, by the grace and mercy of God, such a man is justified by faith in Christ Jesus: the parable of the Pharisee and publican will illustrate this, Luk 18:10. "Who, seeing Jesus, fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean"; See Gill on Mat 8:2. Christ could cure lepers, and did; and which was a proof of his Messiahship, and is given among the signs of it, to John's disciples,Mat 11:5 and as there is a likeness between the leprosy and sin, so between the cleansing of a leper under the law, and the healing of a sinner by Christ: for the cleansing of a leper, two birds were to be taken clean and alive, which were both typical of Christ, and pointed at the meekness of his human nature, his innocence, harmlessness, and purity, and that he had a life to lay down; one of these was to be killed, in an earthen vessel over running water, showing that Christ must be killed, his blood must be shed for the cleansing of leprous sinners; the earthen vessel denoted his human nature, his flesh, in which he was put to death; and the running water signified the purifying nature of his blood, and the continued virtue of it, to cleanse from all sin; and the blood and the water being mixed together, may put us in mind of the blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ, when pierced with the spear; which was an emblem of our justification and sanctification being both from him, on account of which, he is said to come both by water and by blood, 1Jo 5:6. The other bird, after it was dipped with the cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop in the blood of the slain bird, was let go alive; which typified the resurrection of Christ, who was put to death in the flesh, and quickened in the Spirit; and who rose again, for the justification of his people from all sin: the cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop, which were used in the cleansing of the leper, may either relate to the sufferings, and death, and blood of Christ; the scarlet wool may denote the bloody sufferings of Christ, through which he was red in his apparel; the cedar wood may signify the incorruptibleness and preciousness of the blood of Christ, and the hyssop the purging virtue of it; or else these three may have regard to the three principal graces of the Spirit of God, which have to do with, and are in influenced by the sin cleansing blood of Christ: the cedar wood may signify the incorruptible and precious grace of faith; the green hyssop, the lively grace of hope; and the scarlet, the flaming grace of love, when it is in its full exercise: or else the grace of faith, by which dealing with the blood of Christ, the heart is purified, is only meant; signified by cedar wood, for its permanency; by scarlet, for its concern with the crimson blood of Christ; by which sins, though as scarlet, are made white as wool; and by hyssop, for its being an humble and lowly grace: now the cedar stick, with the scarlet wool, and bunch of hyssop bound unto it, was used to sprinkle the blood of the bird upon the leper seven times, when he was pronounced clean; and expresses the instrumentality of faith, in the application of the blood of Christ for cleansing: though after this, the leper was to shave off all his hair, and wash himself and clothes in water; suggesting to us, that holiness of life and conversation which should follow, upon cleansing through faith in the blood of Christ.

(e) Chambers's Cyclopaedia in the word "Leprosy"

Oct 14, 2011

Psalm 3:8 - Robert Hawker

"Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah." [Psalm 3:8]

See Reader what a blessed joyful conclusion! What could open more gloomy and discouraging than this Psalm did! What can end more triumphant and joyful! But do not fail to trace the whole to its source. Salvation is of GOD. Yes! JESUS saith, Mine own arm brought salvation, and of the people there was none with me. Isaiah 63:3-5. Oh! LORD! suffer me never to rob my GOD of his glory, by mingling anything of my wretchedness with the finished redemption of my Saviour. LORD JESUS do thou have all the praise, for thou alone art able to bear the glory. Zechariah 6:12, 13.

1 Timothy 2:6 - John Foreman

"Who gave himself a ransom for all'

`Who gave himself a ransom for all,' 1 Tim ii 6. This evidently and simply means, all sorts and grades of society of men, whom the apostle exhorted Timothy that they should be prayed for, verse 1,2, `that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness;' and also because that such all men `God will have to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth,' and the same to be testified in due time.' It is not said God would have all men to be saved, nor would have had all men to be saved; but `Will have all men to be saved,' and this will extends quite as far as the gift of the ransom; and all intended by both sayings is `to be testified in due time.' Now take the whole connexion from the first to the close of the seventh verse, and then take the testimony of these now for ever gone by eighteen hundred years, and see whether any thing like individual universality in either the `will' or the `ransom,' could ever be understood and intended by the apostle, as by any sort of `testimony' that can be gathered to have been borne in any way whatever to that point, through all this length of time now gone by. For the apostle tells us most plainly that the truth he stated, and intended by his statement, should `be testified in due time:' and while in the conduct of providence, the ministry of the gospel, and the manner of the effectually working power of God therewith, it has long and mercifully been `testified' that all sorts of characters and grades of society of men, are included in the `will' and `ransom for all' in our text, there is in no shape the least testimony borne to individual universality of souls unto salvation as being ever intended. And while the Lord did out of one savage blood-thirsty persecutor, raise up and make one `apostle to the Gentiles,' how is it that thousands of such preachers were not raised up and sent at once into every kingdom, province, city, and village of the whole world to testify the same, if the will of God was to have all universally saved, and as universally `come to the knowledge of the truth?' Was the will of God ever limited by his want of power? Could he not raise up workmen for a universal work, if such had been his will? Was God ever really short of workmen for his own purposes of grace, further than to make it a matter of prayer with the church for him to send, as well as prosper them he hath sent into the ministry?

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions