John M. Frame on Cultivating Humility Through Daily Repentance


John Frame,

We need more Christians who will lead lives of repentance, for repentance always challenges pride. If you’re coming to God daily to confess to him how much you have sinned, you will find it hard to pretend that you are holier than everybody else. You’ll find it hard to put on airs, to pose as the perfect Christian. When others accuse you of sin, you won’t immediately jump to defend yourself, as if of course you could never do wrong and any accusation must be a misunderstanding. Rather, when someone accuses you of sin, you’ll respond by thinking there is a high probability that the accusation is true, and you won’t be embarrassed to say, “Oh, yes, I did do that. And I am terribly sorry. Will you forgive me?” If we are able to humble ourselves before God, we will be humble before men as well. And the church will be far better if there are more of us who are like that.

Reprinted from Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by John M. Frame, copyright 2006 P & R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ. (pg. 199)

Dr. John M. Frame serves as J.D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.

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My Hope is Not In Myself But In Christ — Paul Washer [VIDEO]

This is really good. This is a slightly longer version of a video I posted the other day on facebook, so if you saw that video be sure to watch this one also. He makes some important distinctions here as relates to his preaching.

“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 3” by John MacArthur

“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 3”

by John MacArthur

1 Corinthians 3:11; John 3:18; 2 John 11; John 5:22

John MacArthur

V. The Fundamental Doctrines Are All Summed up in the Person and Work of Christ

Paul wrote, “No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Christ Himself embodied or established every doctrine that is essential to genuine Christianity. Those who reject any of the cardinal doctrines of the faith worship a “christ” who is not the Christ of Scripture.

How are the fundamentals of the faith personified in Christ?

With regard to the inspiration and authority of Scripture, He is the incarnate Word (John 1:1, 14). He upheld the written Word’s absolute authority (Matthew 5:18). Christ Himself established sola Scriptura as a fundamental doctrine when He upbraided the Pharisees for nullifying Scripture with their own traditions: “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.… You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition” (Mark 7:6-9). Our Lord had much to say about the authority and infallibility of the Word of God.

In the doctrine of justification by faith, it is Christ’s own perfect righteousness, imputed to the believer, that makes the pivotal difference between true biblical justification and the corrupted doctrine of Roman Catholicism and the cults. That is what Paul meant when he wrote, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). It is also why Paul wrote that Christ is become to us righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30), and it is why Jeremiah called Him “The Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6). The Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, is our righteousness (Jeremiah 33:16). That is the very essence of justification by faith alone, sola fide.

Of course, all the fundamental doctrines related to the incarnation — the Virgin Birth of Christ, His deity, His humanity, and His sinlessness — are part and parcel of who He is. To deny any of those doctrines is to attack Christ Himself.

The essential doctrines related to His work — His atoning death, His resurrection, and the reality of His miracles — are the very basis of the Gospel (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Hebrews 2:3-4). Reject them and you nullify the heart of the Christian message.

The fundamentals of the faith are so closely identified with Christ that the apostle John used the expression “the teaching of Christ” as a kind of shorthand for the set of doctrines he regarded as fundamental. To him, these doctrines represented the difference between true Christianity and false religion.

That is why he wrote, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). Far from encouraging union with those who denied the fundamental truths of the faith, John forbade any form of spiritual fellowship with or encouragement of such false religion (vv. 10-11).

So What?

It has not been my purpose here to attempt to give an exhaustive list of fundamental doctrines. Such a task is beyond the scope of this article. Furthermore, the attempt to precisely identify and number such a list of doctrines would be an extremely difficult thing to do. However, a reasonable list of fundamentals would necessarily begin with these doctrines explicitly identified in Scripture as non-negotiable: the absolute authority of Scripture over tradition (sola Scriptura), justification by faith alone (sola fide), the deity of Christ, and the Trinity.

But what are we to do with this understanding? First of all, we should resist any temptation to wield these doctrines like a judge’s gavel that consigns multitudes to eternal doom. We must not set ourselves up as judges of other people’s eternal fate.

On the other hand, we must recognize that those who have turned away from sound doctrine in matters essential to salvation are condemning themselves. “He who does not believe has been judged already” (John 3:18). Our passion ought to be to proclaim the fundamentals with clarity and precision, in order to turn people away from the darkness of error. We must confront head-on the blindness and unbelief that will be the reason multitudes will one day hear the Lord say, “I never knew you; depart from Me” (Matthew 7:23). Again, it must be stressed that those who act as if crucial doctrines were of no consequence only heap the false teacher’s guilt on themselves (2 John 11).

We have no right to pronounce a sentence of eternal doom against anyone (John 5:22). But by the same token, we have no business receiving just anyone into the communion and fellowship of the church. We should no more forge spiritual bonds with people whose religion is fundamentally in error than we would seek fellowship with those guilty of heinous sin. To do so is tantamount to the arrogance shown by the Corinthians, who refused to dismiss from their fellowship a man living in the grossest kind of sin (1 Corinthians 5:1-3).

We must also remember that serious error can be extremely subtle. False teachers don’t wear a sign proclaiming who they are. They disguise themselves as apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13). “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (vv. 14-15). In view of the current hunger for ecumenical compromise, nothing is more desperately needed in the church right now than a new movement to reemphasize the fundamental articles of the faith.

See also:

“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 1”
by John MacArthur
“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 2” by John MacArthur

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This article originally appeared here at Grace To You © 1969-2011. Grace to You. All rights reserved.
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“Choosing My Religion” and other $5.00 Friday (5/27/2011) Specials at Ligonier.

Choosing My Religion is an excellent teaching series by R.C. Sproul, and if you purchase it today (here) it will set you back only $8 bucks (not exactly $5.00, but still a great price!) I used the VHS series (I know, I know…it was in the 1990’s) to teach a high school and college age class at church, and while directed at young adults, any age will benefit from it.

This from Ligonier: “In a world engulfed with false prophesies and theories, we would be mistaken to think our students are not burdened by them. In Choosing My Religion, Dr. R.C. Sproul addresses the promises that relativism and rebellion make but cannot keep.

This series includes interviews with students and young adults, which reveal convictions they hold. Dr. Sproul responds to these views with biblical truth. Choosing My Religion benefits the young person by exposing false philosophies and redirecting them to the truths of the Gospel.”

View today’s other specials here.

“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 2” by John MacArthur

“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 2”

by John MacArthur

Hebrews 11:6; John 17:3; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:20; John 8:58

John MacArthur

III. Everything Essential to Saving Faith Is Essential

Third, a doctrine must be regarded as fundamental if eternal life depends on it. Scripture is full of statements that identify the terms of salvation and the marks of genuine faith.

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). That verse makes faith itself essential to a right relationship with God. It also expressly identifies both the existence and the veracity of God as fundamental articles of the Christian faith.

Elsewhere we are told that eternal life is obtained through the knowledge of the true God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3; 14:6; Acts 4:12). Since Jesus Himself is the true God incarnate (1 John 5:20; John 8:58; 10:30), the fact of His deity (and by implication the whole doctrine of the Trinity) is a fundamental article of faith (see 1 John 2:23). Our Lord Himself confirmed this when He said all must honor Him as they honor the Father (John 5:23).

The truths of Jesus’ divine Sonship and Messiahship are also fundamental articles of faith (John 20:31).

Of course, the bodily resurrection of Christ is a fundamental doctrine, because 1 Corinthians 15:14 tells us, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.”

Romans 10:9 confirms that the resurrection is a fundamental doctrine, and adds another: the lordship of Christ. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

And according to Romans 4:4-5, justification by faith is a fundamental doctrine as well: “Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.” In other words, those who seek acceptance before God on the ground of their own righteousness will find they fall short (Romans 3:27-28; Galatians 2:16-3:29). Only those who trust God to impute Christ’s perfect righteousness to them are accounted truly righteous. This is precisely the difference between Roman Catholic doctrine and the Gospel set forth in Scripture. It is at the heart of all doctrine that is truly fundamental.

In fact, an error in understanding justification is the very thing that was responsible for the apostasy of the Jewish nation: “For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3). Is that not the precise failure of Roman Catholicism? But “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (v. 4).

IV. Every Doctrine We Are Forbidden to Deny Is Fundamental

Certain teachings of Scripture carry threats of damnation to those who deny them. Other ideas are expressly stated to be affirmed only by unbelievers. Such doctrines, obviously, involve fundamental articles of genuine Christianity.

The apostle John began his first epistle with a series of statements that establish key points of the doctrine of sin (hamartiology) as fundamental articles of faith. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1:6). That condemns wanton antinomianism (the idea that Christians are under no law whatsoever) and makes some degree of doctrinal and moral enlightenment essential to true Christianity. A second statement rules out the humanistic notion that people are basically good: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (v. 8 ). And a third suggests that no true Christian would deny his or her own sinfulness: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (v. 10).

First Corinthians 16:22 makes love for Christ a fundamental issue: “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed.” And a similar verse, 1 Corinthians 12:3, says that no one speaking by the Spirit of God can call Jesus accursed.

The truth of Jesus’ incarnation is also clearly designated a fundamental doctrine: “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist” (1 John 4:2-3). “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7). Those verses by implication also condemn those who deny the Virgin Birth of our Lord, for if He was not virgin-born, He would be merely human, not eternal God come in the flesh.

And since those who twist and distort the Word of God are threatened with destruction (2 Peter 3:16), it is evident that both a lofty view of Scripture and a sound method of Bible interpretation (hermeneutics) are fundamental tenets of true Christianity.

See also:

“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 1” by John MacArthur
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This article originally appeared here at Grace To You © 1969-2011. Grace to You. All rights reserved.
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John Frame: On the Absolute Authority of God’s Infallible Word


Dr. Frame,

The written Word is the covenant constitution of the people of God, and its authority is absolute, because the authority of its author is absolute.

Without authoritative words from God, there would be no story of redemption. Everything we know about salvation comes through such words. The law that we have broken to deserve hell is a divine word. The gospel that promises forgiveness to those who trust Jesus is also a divine word. And we prove our love by obeying Jesus’ commands—again, divine words.

So without authoritative, divine words, it is quite meaningless to claim that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. As our Lord, he speaks words that we must obey. And as our Savior, he brings a reliable promise, without which we cannot be saved. Without words from God of absolute authority, there can be no gospel and no Christianity.

Absolute authority entails infallibility. A word of ultimate authority is beyond human criticism. We may never judge it to have failed or to have been mistaken. So God’s word in Scripture, as all his other words, must be judged to be infallible and inerrant.

Theologians who try to play down the importance of God’s authority—whether to avoid “patriarchalism,” to promote the freedom of human thought and choice, to allow greater latitude to science and philosophy, or whatever—have lost something that is central to the biblical revelation. Everything in Scripture comes to us as an authoritative communication. Pervasively, Scripture claims our thoughts and decisions. To miss that is in one sense to miss everything, for it is to miss the lordship of Yahweh and the lordship of Christ.

Reprinted from The Doctrine of God by John M. Frame, copyright 2002 P & R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ. (pp. 91-92)

Dr. John M. Frame serves as J.D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.

“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 1” by John MacArthur

“What Doctrines Are Essential? – Part 1”

by John MacArthur

2 Timothy 3:15; Psalms 19:7; Matthew 11:25

John MacArthur


How can a Christian determine which doctrines are essential and which are not?

To begin with, the strongest words of condemnation in all the New Testament are aimed at false teachers who corrupt the Gospel. Therefore the Gospel message itself must be acknowledged as a primary point of fundamental doctrine.

But what message will determine the content of our gospel testimony? Let’s turn to Scripture itself and attempt to lay out some biblical principles for determining which articles of faith are truly essential to authentic Christianity.

I. All Fundamental Articles of Faith Must Be Drawn from the Scriptures

First, if a doctrine is truly fundamental, it must have its origin in Scripture, not tradition, papal decrees, or some other source of authority. Paul reminded Timothy that the Scriptures are “able to make thee wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15, KJV). In other words, if a doctrine is essential for salvation, we can learn it from the Bible. The written Word of God therefore must contain all doctrine that is truly fundamental. It is able to make us “adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). If there were necessary doctrines not revealed in Scripture, those promises would ring empty.

The psalmist wrote, “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul” (Psalm 19:7). That means Scripture is sufficient. Apart from the truths revealed to us in Scripture, there is no essential spiritual truth, no fundamental doctrine, nothing essential to soul-restoration. We do not need to look beyond the written Word of God for any essential doctrines. There is nothing necessary beyond what is recorded in God’s Word.

This, of course, is the Reformation principle of sola Scriptura — Scripture alone. According to the Bible itself, no supposed spiritual authority outside “the sacred writings” of Scripture can give us wisdom that leads to salvation. No papal decrees, no oral tradition, no latter-day prophecy can contain truth apart from Scripture that is genuinely fundamental.

II. The Fundamentals Are Clear in Scripture

Second, if an article of faith is to be regarded as fundamental, it must be clearly set forth in Scripture. No “secret knowledge” or hidden truth-formula could ever qualify as a fundamental article of faith. No cryptic key is necessary to unlock the teaching of the Bible.

The truth of God is not aimed at learned intellectuals; it is simple enough for a child. “Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes” (Matthew 11:25, KJV). The Word of God is not a puzzle. It does not speak in riddles. It is not cryptic or mysterious. It is plain and obvious to those who have spiritual ears to hear. “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).

The point is not that every fundamental article of faith must be supported with an explicit proof text. The doctrine of the Trinity, for example, is certainly essential to true Christianity-and it is very clear in Scripture-but you will find no comprehensive statement of the Trinity from any single passage of Scripture.

This does not mean that a doctrine must be non-controversial in order to be considered a fundamental article. Some would argue that the only test of whether something is essential to true Christianity is whether it is affirmed by all the major Christian traditions. By that rule, hardly anything of any substance would remain to distinguish the Christian Gospel from the “salvation” offered by pagan morality or Islamic theology. “There is much truth in the remark of Clement of Alexandria; ‘No Scripture, I apprehend, is so favourably treated, as to be contradicted by no one.’” (Herman Witsius, Sacred Dissertations on the Apostles’ Creed [Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1993 reprint], 1:21)
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You © 1969-2011. Grace to You. All rights reserved.
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“Let Us Make Man…..Let Us Save Man” – J.C. Ryle

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” — Matthew 3:16-17

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)


J.C. Ryle,

We are told of the presence of all three people of the blessed Trinity. God the Son, manifest in the flesh, is baptized. God the Spirit descends like a dove, and lights upon Him. God the Father speaks from heaven with a voice. In a word we have the manifested presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Surely we may regard this as a public announcement, that the work of Christ was the result of the eternal counsels of all the Three. It was the whole Trinity, which at the beginning of creation said, “let us make man.” It was the whole Trinity again, which at the beginning of the Gospel seemed to say, “let us save man.” (excerpted from Commentary on Matthew 3:13-17 in Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew, J.C. Ryle)

The Man-Abasing, God-Glorifying Nature of the Biblical Gospel — J. Gresham Machen


J. Gresham Machen,

Christ is a sufficient Saviour; but what has He done, and what will He do, not merely for the men who were with Him in the days of His flesh, but for us? How is it that Christ touches our lives?

The answer which the Word of God gives to that question is perfectly specific and perfectly plain. Christ touches our lives, according to the New Testament, through the Cross. We deserved eternal death, in accordance with the curse of God’s law; but the Lord Jesus, because He loved us, took upon Himself the guilt of our sins and died instead of us on Calvary. And faith consists simply in our acceptance of that wondrous gift. When we accept the gift, we are clothed, entirely without merit of our own, by the righteousness of Christ; when God looks upon us, He sees not our impurity but the spotless purity of Christ, and accepts us “as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.”

That view of the Cross, it cannot be denied, runs counter to the mind of the natural man. It is not, indeed, complicated or obscure; on the contrary it is so simple that a child can understand, and what is really obscure is the manifold modern effort to explain the Cross away in such fashion as to make it more agreeable to human pride. But certainly it is mysterious, and certainly it demands for its acceptance a tremendous sense of sin and guilt. That sense of sin and guilt, that moral awakening of a soul dead in sin, is the work of the Spirit of God; without the Spirit of God no human persuasion will ever bring men to faith. But that does not mean that we should be careless about the way in which we proclaim the gospel: because the proclamation of the message is insufficient to induce faith, it does not follow that it is unnecessary; on the contrary it is the means which the Spirit Himself graciously uses in bringing men to Christ. Every effort, therefore, should be made, with the help of God, to remove objections to this “word of the Cross” and to present it in all its gracious power. ¹

¹ J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991), pp. 143-144 [First Published 1925]

“God Blots Out His People’s Sins, but Not Their Names” — Thomas Watson (c. 1620—1686)

Thomas Watson (c. 1620—1686)


Thomas Watson,

When God calls a man, He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do, love one day, and hate another; or as princes, who make their subjects favourites, and afterwards throw them into prison. This is the blessedness of a saint; his condition admits of no alteration. God’s call is founded upon His decree, and His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed.God blots out His people’s sins, but not their names. — Thomas Watson (c. 1620—1686)

(RT: Spurgeon GemsInspirational Quotes)

Holiness: A Call for Christians to Battle Sin and Pursue God — J.C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

J.C. Ryle,

That great divine, John Owen, the Dean of Christ Church, used to say, more than two hundred years ago, that there were people whose whole religion seemed to consist in going about complaining of their own corruptions and telling everyone that they could do nothing of themselves. I am afraid that after two centuries the same thing might be said with truth of some of Christ’s professing people in this day. I know there are texts in Scripture which warrant such complaints. I do not object to them when they come from men who walk in the steps of the apostle Paul and fight a good fight, as he did, against sin, the devil and the world. But I never like such complaints when I see ground for suspecting, as I often do, that they are only a cloak to cover spiritual laziness and an excuse for spiritual sloth. If we say with Paul, “O wretched man that I am,” let us also be able to say with him, “I press toward the mark.” Let us not quote his example in one thing, while we do not follow him in another (Rom. 7:24; Phil. 3:14).

I do not set up myself to be better than other people; and if anyone asks, “What are you, that you write in this way?” I answer, “I am a very poor creature indeed.” But I say that I cannot read the Bible without desiring to see many believers more spiritual, more holy, more single–eyed, more heavenly–minded, more whole–hearted than they are in the nineteenth century. I want to see among believers more of a pilgrim spirit, a more decided separation from the world, a conversation more evidently in heaven, a closer walk with God; and therefore I have written as I have.

Is it not true that we need a higher standard of personal holiness in this day? Where is our patience? Where is our zeal? Where is our love? Where are our works? Where is the power of religion to be seen, as it was in times gone by? Where is that unmistakable tone which used to distinguish the saints of old and shake the world? Truly our silver has become dross, our wine mixed with water, and our salt has very little savor. We are all more than half asleep. The night is far spent, and the day is at hand. Let us awake and sleep no more. Let us open our eyes more widely than we have done up to this time. “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us.” “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God” (Heb. 12:1; 2 Cor. 7:1). “Did Christ die,” says Owen, “and shall sin live? Was He crucified in the world, and shall our affections to the world be quick and lively? Oh, where is the spirit of him, who by the cross of Christ was crucified to the world, and the world to him?” (excerpted from: Chapter 3: Holiness in Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, J.C. Ryle)

See also:

♦ The First Step Towards Heaven Is to See Clearly That We Deserve Hell — J.C. Ryle
♦ Faith Alone Justifies, But Faith Alone Does Not Sanctify — J.C. Ryle
♦ God Glorified in the Nobodies by John MacArthur
♦ God Justifies The Ungodly — Charles Spurgeon
♦ Solus Christus: Only One Way of Salvation — J.C. Ryle
♦ A Weak Faith Receives A Strong Christ — Thomas Watson (c.1620-1686)

Charles Spurgeon: On Why the Church Has Lost Influence in the World

Another great quote I found at Grace Christian Quotes:

“I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.” — Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

The Bible: Safeguard Against False Teaching — J.C. Ryle


J.C. Ryle,

What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm. 119:105.) The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear. They would have us believe that “they are not learned, and do not pretend to have decided opinions.” The plain truth is that they are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility. (excepted from commentary on Matthew 7:12-20 in Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew) (RT: Grace Christian Quotes and J.C. Ryle Quotes)

Related Posts:

♦ Practical Instruction for Meditating on God’s Word — Charles Spurgeon
Sola Scriptura: The Apostle Paul’s “Method” For Sanctification — James Montgomery Boice
How To Interpret Scripture — J.C. Ryle
“The Authority of Scripture” by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Practical Instruction for Meditating on God’s Word — Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)


Charles Spurgeon with some helpful advice,

It is an admirable plan to fix your thoughts upon some text of Scripture before you leave your bedroom in the morning—it will sweeten your meditation all the day. Always look God in the face before you see the face of anyone else. Lock up your heart in the morning and hand the key to God and keep the world out of your heart. Take a text and lay it on your tongue like a wafer made with honey and let it melt in your mouth all day. If you do this, and meditate upon it, you will be surprised to notice how the various events of life will help to open up that text. If that particular text does not seem suitable to some special occasion, steal away into a quiet place and get another one—only let your soul be so full of the Word of God that at all the intervals and spaces when you can think upon it, the Word of God dwelling in you richly may come welling up into your mind and make your meditation to be sweet and profitable! (excerpted from: Loving the Law of the Lord, Sermon #3090, delivered by C.H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, on Lord’s Day Evening, May 10, 1874)

“God’s Plan for the Gay Agenda” by John MacArthur

“God’s Plan for the Gay Agenda”

by John MacArthur

John MacArthur


If you’ve been watching the headlines over the last couple years, you may have noticed the incredible surge of interest in affirming homosexuality. Whether it’s at the heart of a religious scandal, political corruption, radical legislation, or the redefinition of marriage, homosexual interests have come to characterize America. That’s an indication of the success of the gay agenda. And some Christians, including some national church leaders, have wavered on the issue even recently. But sadly, when people refuse to acknowledge the sinfulness of homosexuality–calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20)–they do so at the expense of many souls.

How should you respond to the success of the gay agenda? Should you accept the recent trend toward tolerance? Or should you side with those who exclude homosexuals with hostility and disdain?

In reality, the Bible calls for a balance between what some people think are two opposing reactions–condemnation and compassion. Really, the two together are essential elements of biblical love, and that’s something the homosexual sinner desperately needs.

Homosexual advocates have been remarkably effective in selling their warped interpretations of passages in Scripture that address homosexuality. When you ask a homosexual what the Bible says about homosexuality–and many of them know–they have digested an interpretation that is not only warped, but also completely irrational. Pro-homosexual arguments from the Bible are nothing but smokescreens–as you come close, you see right through them.

God’s condemnation of homosexuality is abundantly clear–He opposes it in every age.

– In the patriarchs (Genesis 19:1-28)

– In the Law of Moses (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13)

– In the Prophets (Ezekiel 16:46-50)

– In the New Testament (Romans 1:18-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Jude 7-8)

Why does God condemn homosexuality? Because it overturns God’s fundamental design for human relationships–a design that pictures the complementary relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33).

Why, then, have homosexual interpretations of Scripture been so successful at persuading so many? Simple: people want to be convinced. Since the Bible is so clear about the issue, sinners have had to defy reason and embrace error to quiet their accusing consciences (Romans 2:14-16). As Jesus said, “Men loved the darkness rather than the Light, [because] their deeds were evil” (John 3:19-20).

As a Christian, you must not compromise what the Bible says about homosexuality–ever. No matter how much you desire to be compassionate to the homosexual, your first sympathies belong to the Lord and to the exaltation of His righteousness. Homosexuals stand in defiant rebellion against the will of their Creator who from the beginning “made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4).

Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by homosexual advocates and their futile reasoning–their arguments are without substance. Homosexuals, and those who advocate that sin, are fundamentally committed to overturning the lordship of Christ in this world. But their rebellion is useless, for the Holy Spirit says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; cf. Galatians 5:19-21).

So, what is God’s response to the homosexual agenda?

Certain and final judgment. To claim anything else is to compromise the truth of God and deceive those who are perishing.

As you interact with homosexuals and their sympathizers, you must affirm the Bible’s condemnation. You are not trying to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals, you are trying to bring conviction so that they can turn from that sin and embrace the only hope of salvation for all of us sinners–and that’s through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Homosexuals need salvation. They don’t need healing–homosexuality is not a disease. They don’t need therapy–homosexuality is not a psychological condition. Homosexuals need forgiveness, because homosexuality is a sin.

I don’t know how it happened, but a few decades ago someone branded homosexuals with the worst misnomer–”gay.” Gay used to mean happy, but I can assure you, homosexuals are not happy people. They habitually seek happiness by following after destructive pleasures. There is a reason Romans 1:26 calls homosexual desire a “degrading passion.” It is a lust that destroys the physical body, ruins relationships, and brings perpetual suffering to the soul–and its ultimate end is death (Romans 7:5). Homosexuals are experiencing the judgment of God (Romans 1:24, 26, 28), and thus they are very, very sad.

First Corinthians 6 is very clear about the eternal consequence for those who practice homosexuality–but there’s good news. No matter what the sin is, whether homosexuality or anything else, God has provided forgiveness, salvation, and the hope of eternal life to those who repent and embrace the gospel. Right after identifying homosexuals as those who “will not inherit the kingdom of God,” Paul said, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

God’s plan for many homosexuals is that they come to salvation. There were former homosexuals in the Corinthian church back in Paul’s day, just as there are many former homosexuals today in my church and in faithful churches around the country. With regenerated hearts, they sit in biblical churches throughout the country praising their Savior, along with former fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, coveters, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers. Remember, such were some of you too.

What should be your response to the homosexual agenda? Make it a biblical response–confront it with the truth of Scripture that condemns homosexuality and promises eternal damnation for all who practice it. What should be your response to the homosexual? Make it a gospel response–confront him with the truth of Scripture that condemns him as a sinner, and point him to the hope of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Stay faithful to the Lord as you respond to homosexuality by honoring His Word, and leave the results to Him.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. © 1969-2011. Grace to You. All rights reserved.
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Faith Alone Justifies, But Faith Alone Does Not Sanctify — J.C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Very helpful distinction by J.C. Ryle,

That faith in Christ is the root of all holiness—that the first step towards a holy life is to believe on Christ—that until we believe we have not a jot of holiness—that union with Christ by faith is the secret of both beginning to be holy and continuing holy—that the life that we live in the flesh we must live by the faith of the Son of God—that faith purifies the heart—that faith is the victory that overcomes the world—that by faith the elders obtained a good report—all these are truths which no well-instructed Christian will ever think of denying. But surely the Scriptures teach us that in following holiness the true Christian needs personal exertion and work as well as faith. The very same Apostle who says in one place, “The life that I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,” says in another place, “I fight—I run—I keep under my body;” and in other places, “Let us cleanse ourselves—let us labor, let us lay aside every weight.” (Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 9:26; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 4:11; Heb. 12:1.) Moreover, the Scriptures nowhere teach us that faith sanctifies us in the same sense, and in the same manner, that faith justifies us! Justifying faith is a grace that “works not,” but simply trusts, rests, and leans on Christ. (Romans 4:5) Sanctifying faith is a grace of which the very life is action: it “works by love,” and, like a main-spring, moves the whole inward man. (Galatians 5:6) After all, the precise phrase “sanctified by faith” is only found once in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus said to Saul, “I send thee, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.” Yet even there I agree with Alford that “by faith” belongs to the whole sentence, and must not be tied to the word “sanctified.” The true sense is, “that by faith in Me they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified.” (compare Acts 26:18 with Acts 20:32.)

As to the phrase “holiness by faith,” I find it nowhere in the New Testament. Without controversy, in the matter of our justification before God, faith in Christ is the one thing needful. All that simply believe are justified. Righteousness is imputed “to him that works not but believes.” (Romans 4:5) It is thoroughly Scriptural and right to say “faith alone justifies.” But it is not equally Scriptural and right to say “faith alone sanctifies.” The saying requires very large qualification. Let one fact suffice. We are frequently told that a man is “justified by faith without the works of the law,” by St. Paul. But not once are we told that we are “sanctified by faith without the deeds of the law.” On the contrary, we are expressly told by St. James that the faith whereby we are visibly and demonstratively justified before man, is a faith which “if it has not works is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17) I may be told, in reply, that no one of course means to disparage “works” as an essential part of a holy life. It would be well, however, to make this more plain than many seem to make it in these days. (excerpted from: Introduction to Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, J.C. Ryle, )

John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock. New Biography by Iain H. Murray (Banner of Truth)

Iain Murray’s new biography, John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock will be available from Banner of Truth May 30th (U.S. and Canada). Click here to pre-order.

On a side note, I encourage everyone to buy all the books they can from Banner of Truth. They are my all-time favorite publisher, and have done more than any publisher bringing back into print great Puritan literature. Solid resources that will not only educate your mind, they will also feed your soul. Their is nothing shallow or superficial about the books published by Banner. You can read a bit of their history here. You can also subscribe to their monthly magazine here.

(Thanks to my friend Tony Zabala for the heads-up on the release date).

Our Great God and Savior: The Deity of Jesus Christ — Charles Hodge (1797-1878)

“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” — Titus 2:13

Charles Hodge (1797-1878)


Charles Hodge,

The Scriptures teach that Christ was truly man, or had a complete human nature. That is, He had a true body and a rational soul….the Scriptures, with equal clearness, declare that Christ was truly God….All divine names and titles are applied to Him. He is called God, the mighty God, the great God, God over all; Jehovah; Lord; the Lord of lords and the King of kings. All divine attributes are ascribed to Him. He is declared to be omnipresent, omniscient, almighty, and immutable, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is set forth as the creator and upholder and ruler of the universe. All things were created by Him and for Him; and by Him all things consist. He is the object of worship to all intelligent creatures, even the highest; all the angels (i.e., all creatures between man and God) are commanded to prostrate themselves before Him. He is the object of all the religious sentiments; of reverence, love, faith, and devotion. To Him men and angels are responsible for their character and conduct. He required that men should honour Him as they honoured the Father; that they should exercise the same faith in Him that they do in God. He declares that He and the Father are one; that those who had seen Him had seen the Father also. He calls all men unto Him; promises to forgive their sins; to send them the Holy Spirit; to give them rest and peace; to raise them up at the last day; and to give them eternal life. God is not more, and cannot promise more, or do more than Christ is said to be, to promise, and to do. He has, therefore, been the Christian’s God from the beginning, in all ages and in all places. (from Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Volume 2, pg. 382.)

Biographical Information:

Charles Hodge (1797-1878) was a Presbyterian minister, theologian, and a seminary professor at Princeton Theological Seminary where he taught for most of his life. A man of God and staunchly orthodox, Hodge taught in the areas of Oriental and Biblical literature, exegetical, didactic and polemic theology, et. al. He was also Princeton’s principal from 1851–1878.

Hodge wrote commentaries, started The Biblical Repertory in 1825 (which later became The Biblical Repertory and Theological Review, then later The Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review), and what is his greatest work, Systematic Theology in 3 Volumes.