True Repentance

If someone offers you an apology for an offense, it is natural to evaluate the sincerity of that apology based on at least three criteria; words, demeanor, and demands.  If the words of that apology begin with “if”, or end with “but”, you know it is not sincere.  If the demeanor of the person apologizing is flippant, or if they imply an obligation for you to forgive them, you will know they are not sincere.  That is why we call it, “begging one’s forgiveness”. 

So it is with God-given repentance. True repentance owns full responsibility for the offense.  No “ifs", "ands", or "buts” about it. True heartfelt repentance cannot be expressed in a rote “sinner’s prayer”. True repentance has no claim on forgiveness. Forgiveness is completely up to the mercy of God. If He forgives, it will be for Christ’ sake.  May the Lord do a work of grace in our hearts giving us a true spirit of repentance.                                           ~GE

The Sword of the Spirit

May the Lord make all His angels (messengers) faithful as those Cherubims He placed at the east of Eden. They wielded flaming swords to “keep the way to the tree of life”. Gen. 3:24. So we have been charged to preach the word, showing and keeping the way to Christ. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God”. Rev. 2:7.                                                                                         ~GE

The Fruit of the Spirit

In Galatians chapter 5 the fruit (singular) of the Spirit is set in contrast to the works (plural) of the flesh. The flesh manifest itself in many ways. The Spirit on the other hand, always has one fruit, LOVE. Love for Christ. Love for His word. Love for His law. Love for His people. Love for one’s enemies. On this, hangs all the law and the prophets. Matt.22:40. You may be thinking, does not Galatians 5 speak of joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance? Yes, and these are the manifestations of love. Someone is wondering, but there are people I don’t like, and there are certainly people I don’t trust. That is having good discernment, not a lack of love.  The love that comes from the Spirit of God harbors no ill will toward anyone. It’s hope and desire for all men is that the Lord would bless them with all true spiritual blessings. Nothing would thrill a believer’s soul more than for their worst enemy to be brought to faith in Christ. The Spirit gives faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love. I Cor. 13:13. Finally, be careful not to inspect your fruit too closely. You will find it is not ripe yet. Lord, give us thy Spirit.                                                                                            ~GE

A very sweet promise for the poor and needy

“When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” Is. 41:17-18.

When we gather for public worship we come as poor and needy sinners seeking the Water of Life. Though we all have temporal needs, our true interest lies in the matters of the soul.  Our need is to know and worship God. It is to be forgiven of sin and to have a sure hope in Christ. The broken cisterns of this dry and thirsty land in which we live are unable to quench our thirst. We come to that place where there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins. What a sweet promise we have from our Lord to meet with us and manifest his grace and glory to us. Let us prepare our hearts in prayer that He might show us a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Rev. 22:1                                                     ~GE

Contrary Not Complicated

The gospel does not remain a mystery to the natural man because it is complicated. The gospel remains a mystery because it is contrary to everything he believes to be true. It is contrary to his view of God. He will honor God with his lips but believe in his heart in a god that is not God. All men by nature set themselves up on the throne of God. They make God dependent upon their will or works to save them. The gospel is contrary to what the natural man believes about himself. He does not believe himself to be dead in his trespasses and sins. He believes that he holds the power of salvation in what he decides.  Until the Lord gives the spirit of repentance (changed mind), the simple, clear gospel of God’s free grace in the glorious person and accomplished work of Christ will remain a mystery.                                                                            ~GE

The Work of God

When was the last time you looked at a beautiful painting and thought anything about the brush the artist used?  Or, when was the last time you read some inspiring words and had any thought of the pen the author used?  That’s absurd. Never. No, all the glory from the enjoyment of these works goes to the Artist and the Author. The instruments they use are insignificant. One brush or pen would be pretty much as good as the next. When Paul and Barnabas came back to Antioch after their first missionary journey; “they rehearsed all that GOD HAD DONE with them and how that HE had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27. Yes, God uses His church to plant and water the seeds of the gospel. Might we be found faithful in so doing. But, let us never forget, except The Lord give the increase there will be no fruit. We are but, “unprofitable servants” Lk 17:10. Indistinguishable brushes and pens in the hand of the Master who Himself gets all the glory.                                                                                                           ~GE

Justice

“…Being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Rom. 5:9.

Our founding fathers when drafting the American Constitution wrote in the Bill of Rights the eighth amendment protecting prisoners from cruel and unjust punishment. They knew that for justice to be served the punishment must fit the crime.  So what does God’s holy justice require to satisfy the offense of our sin?  Turning beautiful angels into hideous devils and casting them out of heaven, all of the curses given to men caused by the fall, washing the earth clean by the drowning of all men save eight, fire falling from heaven and consuming the entire population of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all of the misery that is brought on by sin including death and the eternal fires of hell do not fully express God’s hatred for sin and the demands of His Divine Justice.

The Cross of Christ was the only punishment that fit the crime. Everything else was but a slap on the wrist. Only the sinless Son of God could bear the sorrow and shame of our sin. Only He could suffer the full wrath of God. Only He could satisfy Divine justice. To know what sin is before God we must look upon Him whom we have pierced. Our sin is  so repulsive in the sight of God that if He was only to save one of us, the same sacrifice had to be made. If the very first act of disobedience committed in the garden by Adam was the only sin that had to be atoned for, the same sacrifice had to be made. Only at Calvary’s Cross; ‘mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peach have kissed each other’. Ps. 85:10.                                                                               ~GE

“They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced…” Zech 12:10.

When the Lord pours into the sinner’s heart the ‘spirit of grace and supplication’, the precious doctrine of substitution is made personal. No longer do they see the successful work of Christ’s atonement as a lifeless doctrine applying to just the sins of His church. Now it is a precious truth that moves the heart in love for the One who died for me. May the Lord in His mercy cause His doctrine to fall like dew upon the tender herb. Deut. 32:2. May he cause us to mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son.   ~GE

The real evidence of man’s depravity is not seen in the bad things he does, but in the good things he thinks he has that will earn him favor with God.       ~GE

His Glory is Our Salvation

“My glory will I not give to another” Is 42:8. Yes, our Lord is jealous for His glory.  But let us not think that His jealousy is anything like ours. He is not in the least threatened by the vast majority of men who do rob him of his glory.  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Ps 2:4. It is the Lords mercy that He strips His people of their glory Job 19:9 and makes Himself their ONLY glory. 1 Cor. 1:31  The Lord loves His children too much to allow them to rob themselves of Him, by robbing Him of His glory.  Truly He has set His glory among the heathen Ez. 39:21, by putting Christ in us, our only hope of glory. Col. 1:27.   ~GE

God’s Perfect Will

“…the renewing of your mind, that ye may PROVE what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Rom. 12:2b.

We used to think that if one could achieve a certain spiritual state of mind, they would discover and enjoy God’s perfect will for their lives. It was really no different from the Buddhist belief in Nirvana. It was the imaginary perfection of Utopia. The word “PROVE” in our text means to examine something in order to discover its genuine authenticity. When our minds are renewed in faith to look upon the Lord Jesus Christ, we see that only His life and death fulfilled the perfect will of God. “I come to do thy will, O God”. The Lord also shows us in the revealed will of His word how good, and acceptable, and perfect is the law of liberty. His commandments are not grievous.  We also discover that wherever the Lord has us in His wise and loving providence, is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. We pray with confidence; “…Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”                 ~GE

My Little Children

Saving faith is not a stalwart character trait in which we glory. It is a humble confession of our complete dependence on Christ for everything. When a child is afraid, is it to their glory to hide behind their mother’s skirt? Is it a picture of strength for them to get in the arms of their father and bury their little face in his neck? No. It is to the parent’s glory to care for and comfort the child. Though we completely understand such behavior from a little child, would it not be shameful for an older child or an adult to act this way? It is to our shame that we remain so weak and dependent. It is to our Lord’s glory that He never says, “grow up”. To the contrary, He says, Suffer (do not hinder) the little children to come unto me for such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Truly, His strength is made perfect in our weakness.                                                                         ~GE

“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

Matt. 14:31.

Peter was fixed on Christ walking on the water when he said, “Lord, bid me to come unto thee.” After leaving the security of the boat, Peter took his eyes off of Christ and became afraid. Sinking in the turbulent sea of his fears, he cried “Lord, save me”. Not hesitant to save him, the Lord lovingly identified Peter’s problem as unbelief. He is too loving to allow us to blame the wind and the waves for our fears. No, He lays the blame right at the feet of ‘little faith’. Oh, child of God, is this not our life, repeated over and over again every day? The sin that doth so easily beset us; the root cause of all our fears is doubting our Lord. Truly, the way of our Lord is, ‘through the seas’. He is compassionate and full of mercy to remind us of our need for His outstretched hand. He never has hesitated to respond to any of His childrens’ cry to be saved. Then in infinite love He says; “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Is. 45:22                                                                                           ~GE

The Lord of Host

This word “Host” is also translated Army, Battle, and War. Our God has reigned Sovereign over every battle of every war, of every age. Men speak of “Sovereign Nations”, but in fact, there is no such thing. All nations, kings and armies are subject to the sovereign will and purpose of our God. Truly, Our God Reigneth. Child of God, fear not. The armies of heaven are His Host. All the inhabitants of the earth are His Host. The Lord of Host is bringing His people to their expected end. He reigned over the battle for our souls and got the victory at Calvary’s Cross. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. “For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”. I Cor. 15:25-26. How and when that comes about is a secret thing known only unto God. WHO will bring it about has been revealed to us and to our children. We are watching and waiting in full assurance of faith that the Lord of Host cannot fail in keeping all of His promises.                                                                        ~GE

“Nobody Is Perfect”

Men often make this statement in a feeble attempt to justify themselves before God. Of course, nobody (among the sons of Adam) is perfect. Truth is, men who say such a thing have no idea how far from perfection they really are. The problem is, perfection is exactly what God demands. He can settle for nothing less. Which is why He sent His only begotten Son into this world. The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s perfect man, and He is man’s perfect God. The God-Man. The sinners substitute. The sovereign, successful, surety of His people. Yes, Someone is perfect. Without Him standing in our stead, God’s holy justice will demand our eternal damnation. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” Ps 37:37.                ~GE

It is natural for a little boy who loves, admires, and depends on his father, to want to be like him.  He will put his little feet into his father’s shoes, only not to be able to walk in them. He will follow his father in the sand and try to put his feet in the impressions of his father’s much larger feet but cannot make the stride. He will look up to his father and dream of that day when he will be just like him. He will be brokenhearted whenever he disappoints his father and is chastised. So, it is with God’s children. Though the child falls far short of being like his father (and infinitely so with our Heavenly Father), It is enough that the desire is in the heart. One day we shall see Him as He is and be made like Him.          ~GE

The End of Sin

“… and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death”. Jam. 1:15b

The sin of God’s elect finished its course in the death of our Sin-Bearing Substitute on Calvary’s Tree. It “brought forth death” in the Son of God.  For that reason, sin can never bring forth death to those for whom Christ died. As long as we are in this world sin will threaten, accuse, and tempt us. We will be, “drawn away of our own lust and enticed”. But, happy child of God, sin can never finish its course in your life. The Lord Jesus Christ declared that clearly when He cried from Calvary’s cross; “It is finished.”  Sin was once and for all put away by the sacrifice of Himself. Heb. 9:26. He finished the transgression and made an end of sins. Dan. 9:24. “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:56-57. Truly, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. Rom.10:4. His resurrection is proof of that. Death and hell have been conquered. Sin finished its course in Christ…so that it never could in us.      ~GE

Free Will

Men will say; “I know I have a free will because I am free to choose whatever I will.”  Exactly, and you have just confessed that your choices are in bondage to your will.  Truth is, you cannot choose against your will.  You can only do that which you will to do.  In every choice one makes, it is impossible to act contrary to the will.  Yes, we are free to do (and in fact can only do) whatever we will.  Everything we do is an expression of what we willed to do.  If you did not will it, you cannot do it. The “Will” is the power behind every choice we make. Therein lies the problem in our salvation.  A man spiritually dead and at enmity with God has no desire, will, or inclination to come to Christ.  He cannot love that which he hates. He CANNOT believe that which he DOES NOT believe.  He must first be “born again” or he CANNOT see the kingdom of God.  He must be made willing in the day of God’s power.  He must be given a new nature, a willing heart.  In the order of salvation, regeneration necessarily precedes faith.  Yes, man’s will is free to do whatever it wills to do, which is exactly why he WILL NOT come to Christ that he might have life.  Of course, for anyone who believes God, it is enough the He said; “it is not of him that willeth or of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” Rom. 9:16                                                           ~GE

Works, Dead or Good

Dead Works are those things men do and look to for the hope of their salvation. Good Works are those things believers do when they are looking to Christ alone for all the hope of their salvation. Dead Works are things men glory in. Good Works are never acknowledged by those who do them. Dead Works are performed out of obligation and for reward. Good Works are willing acts of service done out of love for Christ. Lord, purge our conscience of Dead Works to serve Thee, the true and living God. Heb. 9:14. Make us a peculiar people unto Thyself, zealous of Good Works, Titus 2:14  which Thou hast ordained that we should walk in. Eph. 2:10.                                               ~GE

Why Do We Go to Church?

Many people go to church thinking that by doing so they will somehow atone for their sins, not knowing that there is enough sin in what we do at church to send us all to hell. The only atoning sacrifice for our sin is the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb without blemish and without spot. We come to church to worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus. We come as sinners who can find no confidence in our flesh. We come to lay hold on the Hope set before us; which hope we have as an Anchor of the Soul, sure and steadfast, our Forerunner, even Jesus Christ made our High Priest. Heb. 6:18-19. If we come for any other reason, regardless of how noble it may seem, that need will change and we will eventually have no more reason to come.                 ~GE

The Real Problem

The gospel puts God on the throne and man in the dirt.  It declares Christ as absolutely sovereign and gives to him all the glory in salvation.  When men object to a particular doctrine like total depravity, unconditional election, particular redemption, irresistible grace, or the preservation and perseverance of all Gods elect, the real problem is their unwillingness to bow to a Sovereign Omnipotent God.  When a sinner is brought to believe that Jesus Christ truly is Lord, they glory in all these precious doctrines.  They rejoice that He is on His throne and cannot fail to accomplish the salvation of his people. They rest all the hope of their salvation in the person and power of their reigning King.                                            ~GE

“We will not have this man to reign over us” Lk. 19:14

But He does, whether men want Him to or not. Christ Jesus has been made Lord over the living and the dead. He reigns sovereign over the armies of heaven and ALL the inhabitants of the earth. Most of His subjects are resentful and rebellious servants. In their resistance, they do not know that everything they do is serving His sovereign will and purpose. Unless the Lord changes their hearts, they will know nothing but His wrath and justice for all eternity. Others, by His grace, are willing and loving servants. They bow to Him joyfully. They worship Him humbly. They serve Him gladly. They will be made like Him, sing His praises, and glory in Him for all eternity.  Oh Lord Jesus, make us willing servants, in the day of thy power.                                                                           ~GE

The Real Problem

The gospel puts God on the throne and man in the dirt.  It declares Christ as absolutely sovereign and gives to him all the glory in salvation.  When men object to a particular doctrine like total depravity, unconditional election, particular redemption, irresistible grace, or the preservation and perseverance of all Gods elect, the real problem is their unwillingness to bow to a Sovereign Omnipotent God.  When a sinner is brought to believe that Jesus Christ truly is Lord, they glory in all these precious doctrines.  They rejoice that He is on His throne and cannot fail to accomplish the salvation of his people. They rest all the hope of their salvation in the person and power of their reigning King.                                                                                         ~GE

“We will not have this man to reign over us” Lk. 19:14

But He does, whether men want Him to or not. Christ Jesus has been made Lord over the living and the dead. He reigns sovereign over the armies of heaven and ALL the inhabitants of the earth. Most of His subjects are resentful and rebellious servants. In their resistance, they do not know that everything they do is serving His sovereign will and purpose. Unless the Lord changes their hearts, they will know nothing but His wrath and justice for all eternity. Others, by His grace, are willing and loving servants. They bow to Him joyfully. They worship Him humbly. They serve Him gladly. They will be made like Him, sing His praises, and glory in Him for all eternity.  Oh Lord Jesus, make us willing servants, in the day of thy power.                                                                           ~GE