Archive for the ‘Puritans’ category

The differences between worldly joys and spiritual joys

November 25, 2009

The original link: Grace Gems

The gleanings of spiritual joys, are better than the vintage of the worldly joys.

(1.) Spiritual joys help to make us BETTER, worldly joys often make us worse. “I spoke unto you in your prosperity—but you said, I will not hear.” Jer 22:21. Pride and luxury are the two worms which are bred from worldly pleasures. Wine is the inflamer of lust. As Satan entered in the sop, so often in the cup. But spiritual joy makes one better; it is like cordial medicine, which, as physicians say, not only cheers the heart—but purges out the noxious humours. Just so, divine joy is cordial medicine, which not only comforts but purifies; it makes a Christian more holy; it causes an antipathy against sin; it infuses strength to live and suffer for Christ. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Some colors not only delight the eye—but strengthen the sight. Just so, the joys of God not only refresh the soul—but strengthen it.

(2.) Spiritual joys are INWARD, they are heart joys. “Your heart shall rejoice.” John 16:22. True joy is hidden within, worldly joy lies on the outside, like the dew which wets the leaf. We read of those who “rejoice in appearance,” in the Greek, in the face. 2 Cor 5:12. It goes no farther than the face, it is not within. “Laughter can conceal a heavy heart; when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” Proverbs 14:13. Like a house which has a gilded frontispiece—but all the rooms within are hung in mourning. But spiritual joy lies most within. “Your heart shall rejoice.” Divine joy is like a spring of water which runs underground! Others can see the sufferings of a Christian—but they see not his joy. “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.” Prov 14:10. His joy is hidden manna—hidden from the eye of the world; he has joyful music which others cannot hear. The marrow lies within, the best joy is within the heart.

(3.) Spiritual joys are SWEETER than worldly joys. “Your love is sweeter than wine!” Song of Songs 1:2. Spiritual joys are a Christian’s festival; they are the golden pot and the sweet manna, they are so sweet, that they make everything else sweet! Spiritual joys sweeten health and estate, as sweet water poured on flowers makes them more fragrant and aromatic. Divine joys are so delicious and ravishing, that they put our mouth out of taste for earthly delights; just as he who has been drinking cordials tastes little sweetness in water. Paul had so tasted these divine joys, that his mouth was out of taste for worldly things; the world was crucified to him, it was like a dead thing, he could find no sweetness in it. Gal 6:14.

(4.) Spiritual joys are more PURE, they are not tempered with any bitter ingredients. A sinner’s joy is mixed with dregs, it is embittered with fear and guilt—he drinks wormwood wine. But spiritual joy is not muddied with guilt—but like a crystal stream, it runs pure. It is a rose without prickles; it is honey without wax.

(5.) Spiritual joys are SATISFYING joys. “Ask, that your joy may be full.” Worldly joys can no more fill the heart than a drop can fill an ocean; they may please the palate or imagination—but cannot satisfy the soul. “No matter how much we see—we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear—we are not content.” Ecclesiastes 1:8. But the joys of God satisfy. “Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19. There is as much difference between spiritual joys and earthly joys—as between a banquet which is eaten—and one which is painted on the wall!

(6.) Spiritual joys are STRONGER joys than worldly joys. “Strong consolation.” Heb 6:18. They are strong joys indeed, which can bear up a Christian’s heart in trials and afflictions. “Having received the word in much affliction, with joy.” These joys are roses which grow in winter! These joys can sweeten the bitter waters of Marah! He who has these joys, can gather grapes from thorns, and fetch honey out of the carcass of a lion! “As sorrowing—yet always rejoicing.” 2 Cor 6: 10. At the end of the rod—a Christian tastes honey!

(7.) Spiritual joys are UNWEARIED joys. Other joys, when in excess, often cause loathing; too much honey nauseates. One may be tired of pleasure, as well as labor. King Xerxes offered a reward to him who could find out a new pleasure! But the joys of God, though they satisfy—yet they never glut. A drop of joy is sweet—but the more of this wine the better! Such as drink of the joys of heaven—are never glutted. Their satiety is without loathing, because they still desire more of the joy with which they are satiated.

(8.) Spiritual joys are ABIDING joys. Worldly joys are soon gone. Such as crown themselves with rosebuds, and bathe in the perfumed waters of pleasure—may have joys which seem to be sweet—but they are swift. They are like meteors, which give a bright and sudden flash, and then disappear. But the joys which believers have are abiding; they are a blossom of eternity—a pledge of those rivers of pleasure which run at God’s right hand! “In Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures!” Psalm 16:11


The Duty of Self-Denial, by Thomas Watson

February 16, 2009

Excerpts from: The Duty of Self-Denial

Luke 9:23
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

Luke 14:27
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple

Matthew 10:38
And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me

John 12:25
He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

Romans 8:13
if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Practical issues: what does it mean?

1. A Christian must deny his reason

Reason must be denied in credendis and in agendis.
In credendis (doctrines to be believed): the doctrines of Trinity, Incarnation, Resurrection
In agendis (in duties anjoined to be practiced

2. A Christian must deny his will.

Here we must deny our will and bring it to God’s will. If a crooked stick is laid upon the ground that is level, we do not try to bring the ground even with the stick, but to make the stick even to the ground. So God’s will is not to be brought to ours, but our will being crooked must be brought to God’s will. We pray, “Thy will be done.” The way to have our will is to deny it.

3. A Christian must deny his own righteousness, his civilities, duties, and good works

Philippians 3:9
…and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith

4. A Christian must deny all self-confidence

Matthew 26:33-34
But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.”
Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

Matthew 26:72
And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.”

Romans 11:20
Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;

1. Corinthians 10:12
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

Revelation 3:17
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

5. A Christian must deny self-conceit

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

I Corinthians 4:7
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Ezekiel 28:2
Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
       ” ‘In the pride of your heart
       you say, “I am a god;
       I sit on the throne of a god
       in the heart of the seas.”
       But you are a man and not a god,
       though you think you are as wise as a god.

Your dark side is broader than your light side. Your ignorance is more than your knowledge. Your knowledge is but the light of a torch, your ignorance as the Cimmerian darkness. You have no cause to be conceited of the knowledge you have, but rather to be humbled for what you lack.

6.A Christian must deny his appetite

Proverbs 30:15
There are three things that are never satisfied,
       four that never say, ‘Enough!’:

1 Corinthians 9:27
No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Philippians 3:19
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

7. A Christian must deny his ease
Proverbs 19:24
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth.

Matthew 25:26
But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.

8.A Christian must deny carnal policy (the wisdom of the flesh)

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

9. A Christian must deny his inordinate passions

James 1:26
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

James 3:6 
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

10. A Christian must deny his sinful fashions

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Corinthians 11:14
Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him,

1 Timothy 2:9
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments

11. A Christian must deny his own aims, must not aim at self-applause

John 1:15
John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'”

1 Peter 4:11
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ

12. A Christian must deny all ungodliness

Titus 2:11-12 
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
instructing us to deny ungodliness and   worldly desires and   to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

13. A Christian must deny his relations

Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

14. A Christian must deny his estate for Christ

Matthew 19:22
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have   treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

15. A Christian must deny his life for Christ

Again, Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

Mark 8:38
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation,   the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He   comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

The difference between the dead old man and the flesh

January 30, 2009

Summary from “The works of Christopher Love” volume 1.
From “Who were the puritans” by Matthew McMahon, lesson 8:

Some Bible verses first:
Romans 6:6
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Eph. 4:22
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Colossians 3:9
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Romans 7:5-6
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Now, the syllogism with 17 points

1. What is the old man? 
It’s not the sinful nature. The old man is the man, or state of being  in the unregenerate state. The state of the stony heart, the state of being under the dominion of sin.
There’s remnants of the sinful nature, but the old man is gone, he’s dead.

2. What nature is the old man (with the stony heart) dominated by?
It was dominated by the sin nature, or the flesh

3. What does God fully remove from us when we are saved? (what does He take out)
The old stony heart has been removed.

4. What does God replace the stony heart with?
He replaces it with a new heart:
Ezekiel 36:26
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Heart = will, emotion, inner man, affections toward God

5. Regeneration or receiving a new heart, instills in us what?
According to what Jesus says to Nicodemus and to the disciples in many of His discourses:
New principles of life have been instilled in us, that is the new man, the regenerate man, we have a new man now that’s living.

6. Do we have our old heart, or has God given us a new heart?
We have a new heart, and the old heart is taken away, it no longer exists

7. Can the old man live without his heart?
(the old man whose heartbeat was of the stony heart and that heart is ripped out and a new heart is put in, that is not akin to the old man, can the old man live without his heart?)
No, he cannot live without his stony heart

8. Is the old man dead?
Yes. He is dead. Dead as a doornail. Very important.

9. Though God instilled in us a new principle of life, killing the old man who is now dead, did He also remove the sinful nature from us? (the flesh)
No

10. Why?
To be discussed in a next lesson by Matthew McMahon

11. What is the flesh?
The corruption nature of man by original sin (corruption understood by habit or as an act)

12. Are Christians dominated by sin?
The old man was dominated by sin.
No, the Christians are dominated by the Holy Spirit

13. Also the answer to the “why” not dominated by sin.

14. What is the old man?
We were a certain kind of man, but now this man is crucified, he’s dead.

15. Distinction between the old crucified man and the flesh.
(basic distinction that Paul, the reformers, and the puritans make)
The flesh is the sinful nature, the remnants of it is still left in us.

16. Do Christians do currently war against the flesh?
Yes, by all means.

Romans 13:14
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
2. Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Whether physical or spiritual, it doesn’t matter. “Lest I be exalted”.
Gal 5:24
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
In that context, does “crucified” mean “dead”?
In Paul’s context dealing with Jesus dying on the cross, we know He’s talking about deadness, but is it the same here? Is the sinful nature dead? 
The old man is dead. Is the sinful nature dead? 
No, it’s not dead, it’s not completely crucified.
“Crucified” doesn’t always mean “dead”. It always means that it will ultimately die, (when the Christians get to heaven), but not necessarily right here on the spot.
Crucifixion is a long, arduous death.
When you’re the roman soldier constantly watching the flesh as it dies on the cross, but desires to have its resurrection, you must not allow it.
Ephesians 2:3
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

The flesh still wants to revive those former lusts and you want to kill it. That’s the idea of mortification.
17. The flesh is looking to the old man to revive.
The old man is dead, but the flesh is still around and it’s looking for the old man.
The flesh doesn’t know that the old man is dead and it’s looking to resurrect, to revive the old man.
It is looking to conquer the old man, as it has done before, but guess what it runs into.
It runs into the Spirit.  The Father, the Son and the Spirit who dwell in the Christian.

Think of yourself like of those lion hunters on a safari trip, and of the flesh like  of a big lion. You’ve wounded the lion severely, you’ve shot it, it’s bleeding, in a manner  in which it is going to die, but you’re still on your guard, because the lion doesn’t know it’s gonna die so even in the end of its life, even as you’re mortifying it is trying to sink its teeth into you, it is still trying to destroy you.
A beast who has been severely wounded by a hunter tries in every possible way to stay alive.
It is still dangerous, maybe more dangerous in the last hours than any time in its life.

So this is the sinful nature, the dangerous lion that desires to devour us.
And it is bleeding.
And it will be bleeding for the rest of our life, until either we die, or Christ returns.
The old man is dead, and sometimes we act stupidly, trying to revive the old man, to put him back on, and we’re not supposed to be doing that. We’re supposed to live for Christ. 

Romans 8:13
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Practical Wisdom (not only for calvinists)

January 25, 2009

Before I writing about Puritan and calvinist works, I’d like to post something written by Darryl M. Erkel. 

Firstly, I’ll see it more often (if posted here on the blog) and secondly, maybe some one else will find it good too:

  • Recognize that Salvation is Broader than the Calvinist Camp.
  • God commands us to accept one another in Christ, in spite of our differences 
  • Calvinism is not the Gospel
  • Scripture alone is the final standard of authority for doctrine and practice
  • Be very careful about accepting entire systems of theology
  • The truth is, some aspects of Reformed theology are erroneous (like infant baptism)
  • Don’t View Any Period of Church History as Perfect (e.g., the Protestant Reformation of the 16.th Century),Nor Any Particular Group of Christians (e.g., the Reformers, Puritans, Anabaptists)
  • Be the Model of Humility and Love
  • Recognize That You Can Learn From Those Who Are Outside of the Reformed Camp.
  • Seek to Be A Man/Woman of the Text of Scripture.
  • Recognize That Your Greatest Power is Found in Prayer.

It was written with the calvinist theology in mind, but it can be just as good applied for Puritan writings.

Here the complete text: Practical Wisdom For Calvinists