Thursday, April 30, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
CHAPTER XLI.THE FINAL JUDGEMENT.
THE partial processes of God's judgements are not only constantly occurring, but are often distinctly manifested. Hence many expressions of Scripture, in which his judgements are spoken of, have no certain reference, and others, no reference at all, to the final judgement of all men. But, in numerous other places, such a judgement is made known. We are taught the appointment of a time when there will be a public, general judgement of all the righteous, and the wicked.
I. A SPECIAL TIME APPOINTED FOR IT.
It is expressly declared that "He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness." Acts 17:31. The numerous designations of the day of the coming of Christ, and of his judgement of men, were pointed out in the preceding chapter. Among those peculiar to the judgement are "the day of judgement," (2 Pet. 2:9); "the great day," (Jude 6); "the great day of their wrath," (Rev. 6:17); "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God," (Rom. 2:5); and "the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Rom 2:16.
The duration of the time thus appointed cannot be determined. The indefinite meaning of the word "day" forbids any statement of even its probable length. It has been argued that, from the vast numbers to be judged, and the many events connected with the life of every man, it will comprise a long period of time. But the rapidity with which, in some conditions, the mind will run over the course of a long life, in a moment of time, shows that a period of even exceeding brevity may suffice for a full revelation and judgement of all persons and events. The indefiniteness of the word should, however, caution us against the assumption that the day must be of only a few hours duration.
II. THE JUDGEMENT WILL BE PUBLIC AND GENERAL.
This has been denied by some who think that the judgement of each man occurs at death. These hold that to confine the judgement to that at death only, is not contrary to the real meaning of Scripture, which they suppose is not to be found in the literal language used, but in such an interpretation as will accord with the fact that the destiny of each man is fixed, and that consciously to himself, at death. They think that the indefiniteness of the word "day" permits a continuous process of judgement extending over the whole period connected with the deaths of men.
The chief basis of this theory is that the certainty attained at the death of each man, as to his position towards God, makes unnecessary any further judgement, because his case has thus been already judged. But we have very little knowledge of the amount of that certainty, especially in the case of the wicked. The righteous man, because of his presence with Christ, doubtless knows that his salvation is secure; but who can tell what alternate hopes and fears may constitute a part of the torture of the wicked in the intermediate state? But, even if he is also certain of his fate, there may be weighty reasons for a public manifestation of his position. Even "the angels, when they sinned," whose condition in this respect is certainly equally ascertained, are said to be "reserved unto judgement," as well as unjust men whom the Lord keeps "under punishment unto the day of judgement." 2 Pet. 2:4, 9. It may be that the day of judgement is appointed, in order that the full sentence, as to the reward or punishment of each man, may be uttered, when he stands clothed in the resurrection body, in which these are to be suffered, or enjoyed during all the future. Other purposes will be subsequently suggested in connection with the vindication of God, and the manifestation of the causes and circumstances of his action, which, independently of any relation of the judgement to any individual man, make a public judgement day not unsuitable. The certainty of that publicity will appear from the person of the Judge. But, in addition to all other considerations, the Scriptures use language about the judgement day, and its events, which cannot be justly interpreted otherwise than as teaching it to be public in the sight of all, and general to all, not particular to each man. The declarations of its universally sudden appearance, of the angels and the glory which shall attend the descending Judge, of the convulsions of nature, of the burning up of the world, of such a gathering of all nations as permits a separation before all into two distinct classes, and the fact that some will rise up in special condemnation of others; these, and other statements, are utterly inconsistent with only a particular judgement of each at death. Especially is it impossible to reconcile the statement, that the resurrection of men will precede the final judgement, with any theory which makes this occur at death. All of this is independent of the further reply which may be urged, that no indefiniteness of the word "day" would permit the idea that a time, appointed within the life of mankind, should extend throughout the whole period of that life. It ought at least, to be a somewhat limited portion of the time which contains it.
III. THE PERSON OF THE JUDGE.
God alone is competent to perform this office of Judge in the great day. He alone has the right to Judge. He alone has the necessary qualifications. Chief among these is that perfect rectitude of character by which only can justice be exercised with due regard to the law and those under it, according to strict principles of equity. Equally important, however, is that complete knowledge of the law which leaves unknown neither its requirements, nor its penalties, nor its rewards, nor its possible relaxations. He also has that omniscience by which all things are known to him, even the innermost secrets of men; not their actions only, but their inward thoughts and hidden motives, even their natures and the possibilities of those natures. This, which is essential to due judgement, can be found only in him who searcheth the reins and hearts, and can make due application of the law, in all its aspects, to the whole conduct and character of those to be judged; and his the infinite power to execute that law, as well in the bestowment of its rewards, as in the infliction of its punishments.
Hence the Scriptures speak of God as "the judge of all," (Heb. 12:23); and of his judgement according to truth and righteousness, which cannot be escaped, Rom. 2:2, 3, 5. In the Apocalyptic vision, John "saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne" when the books were opened for judgement. Rev. 20:12, 13.
But this judgement is not by God, as God. Jesus told the Jews that "neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgement unto the Son." John 5:22. The cause of this is that the Son is not only divine, but human, and that his relation to humanity endows him with peculiar qualifications for this office, which, like those for the salvation of man, could not be possessed by one only divine. Christ, therefore, taught his disciples that the judge would be the "Son of Man," (Matt. 16:27, 28; 25:31-34), and declared to the Jews, that the Father "gave him [his Son] authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man." John 5:27. Indeed, it would seem that the judgement is to be exercised peculiarly by Christ as man; for it is at least especially announced of him in his nature. Peter preached to Cornelius, concerning Jesus of Nazereth, "that this is he which is ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead." Acts 10:42. Paul wrote of "the day when God shall judge the secrets of men according to my gospel by Jesus Christ," (Rom. 2:16); and encouraged the Corinthians by declaring that "we must all be made manifest before the judgement seat of Christ," (2 Cor. 5:10) and, on Mars' Hill, announced that God had "appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained." Acts 17:31.
We cannot hope to understand all the reasons for this appointment of Christ, as Son of Man, to the judgement of all. They are connected, in part, with the position of King and Lord, to which he has been assigned for the complete triumph of his kingdom, and the manifestation of God's power and grace. They are also doubtless associated with the relation which, as man, he occupies to mankind, and especially to the church of "first-born ones." But it is certain that, by the connection of the office of judge with Christ as man, is removed every obstacle in the way of a public, visible judgement. Since it is the Son of God who is the Son of Man, all that makes it necessary that God be the judge is found in him. But as man, the judge is no longer the invisible God, who can only be seen in the works of his Creation, and Providence; but God in Christ, the Godman, in his visible material form, who, therefore, can be manifested before the eyes of all, in a judgement which is, not simply general, as inclusive of all, but public, as openly manifested before all. It appears, therefore, that the person of the judge adds another reason to those heretofore mentioned why any judgement which occurs at death will be supplemented by, and consummated in, the final judgement of the last day.
IV. THE PURPOSES OF THIS PUBLIC JUDGEMENT.
Still further proof of the same fact will appear from some, at least, of the purposes of this public judgement.
1. In the purpose fulfilled by the revelation of it to men in this life. The conviction of such a judgement to come produces a decided influence for good upon the conduct of men in this life. Doubtless is it on this account that it is taught so plainly, and so frequently, and in so many ways, that none should fail to be impressed with the certainty of its occurrence. This would, indeed, in no small degree, be accomplished by the knowledge of a private and individual judgement at the hour of death. But it is manifest that this effect is greatly enhanced by the terrors and solemnities with which the Bible clothes the scenes of that day. That its publicity is in itself fearful is evident from the extent with which even those shrink from a revelation of their sins, who as believers in Jesus, confidently hope for a favourable sentence from God. The question so frequently asked whether the sins, as well as the good works, of God's people will then be revealed, is the fruit of this apprehension.
It is probable, however, that the influence of the expectation of this judgement is unimportant, as compared with the purposes connected with it actual occurrence. These are to be found in the manifestations of God, and Christ, and of men in that great day.
2. The purposes that appear in connection with the day itself.
(1.) As to God.
(a.) It will furnish a worthy arena for the display of the attributes of God. A continuous purpose of God, in connection with his intelligent creatures, has been to make known to them the glory of his character. This is assigned as a reason even of his spiritual quickening of his people together with Christ. Eph. 2:4-7. Now, no mention can be made of any one of his attributes, which he has thus far revealed, which will not, at the judgement day, be signally displayed. This will be especially true of his vindicatory justice, the perfection of which has been, in some degree, dimmed, while, because of his forbearance and grace, he has delayed the due punishment of sin. Hence, this day is called "the great day of their wrath," (Rev. 6:17), and "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God." Rom. 2:5. Yet, how signally will then, also, appear the wisdom of his purpose, the truth and faithfulness of his promises, his power to accomplish his will, his universal benevolence, his sacrificing love, his unbounded mercy, his delivering power, his conquering grace, and, not to attempt to enumerate further, everything that can be imagined as constituting that holiness which, in one word, embraces all moral perfection.
(b.) The wisdom and equity of God, in his providential and gracious dealings with men, will then, also, be apparent. These often give rise to perplexity, even in those who most firmly believe in God as one who does all things justly, and well. In this life men are called to exercise faith in God in all these matters. That faith will be vindicated by the manifestations at that time both of his character and acts. The inequalities of this life, and the prosperity of the wicked, and the adversity of the righteous, will then be not only equalized, but all will clearly see the wisdom, justice, and goodness of God, in giving them a place here in his providential government. It is more than probable that, in the full exhibition of all his purposes in Creation and Grace, that insoluble problem of this life, -- the presence of sin in a world created, and governed by an Almighty, and Holy God, -- will become a manifestation of unspeakable glory in God. Then, too, will appear, even more plainly than now, the righteousness of his choice of some to salvation, and condemnation of others for sin; and, also, the full responsibility of men for every sin, even when their circumstances and previous action have rendered certain things which they will do. Then, too, will be seen such sufficiency, in each man, of the light possessed, if he had walked therein, and of his power for good, if he had exercised it, as makes him guilty in the sight of God, and worthy of the punishment which he will inflict.
(2.) As to Christ.
But it is not simply the revelation of God; but of God in Christ.
(a) In that wonderful combination by which the created spirit, and even created matter of human nature were, through the making flesh of the divine word, (John 1:14), enabled to do that work which neither man nor God could separately do. Where, but on the throne of judgement, could this personage be seen by any except those who are made partakers of his glory? How fit is his appearance to fill with anguish those who have rejected him, and with exultation and praise all those who have trusted him. He appears not only as Judge, but as King and Lord, whose dominion as Lord is now shown to be universal, and whose kingship, in the hearts of his people, he now rewards by welcoming them to entrance into his joy, and participation in his glory.
(b) The glory of Christ's work will also then appear.
In its displays of the divine attributes; of truth, in the fulfillment in him of the threatened curse of sin for all those saved by him; of inexorable justice, which requires that honouring of the law, not only in obedience, but also in penalty, exacted even from the Son of God, from him that is the fellow of Jehovah; and of love and mercy, which demand to be exercised even at the cost of the most fearful sacrifice. Pre-eminently will the glory of that work be seen in the harmony displayed in the exercise of these attributes; of justice in a way of mercy and love; of each of these in a way of justice, and all of them in a way of holiness and truth. The judgement day will clearly exhibit these perfections, and their harmony, to all the intelligences of God.
The glory of that work will also be seen in the manifested conquest of Satan. For the accomplishment of the purpose of God, he has long been permitted to exercise power and malignity. It will, at the judgement day, appear that it was always done by the sufferance of God, who chose not to conquer, and punish him and his angels, except through the Son of Man. The fact that this victory over Satan has not been one of divine power, but has been wrought out by the Son of God in his human nature, renders his defeat more signal and humiliating to him. It is a complete avengement of the temptation of the first Adam.
The delivering power from sin shown in the work of Christ will also exhibit its glory in a peculiar manner.
We can imagine an angel willing to undertake the conquest of Satan at the command of God. But, here was the work which no angel would have attempted, nor even had any hope of accomplishing. There were many problems, in connection with it, which could not be solved. How is the penalty which has been incurred to be endured, or to be escaped? How is the righteousness demanded, to be fulfilled, now that man has become a sinner? How can sin be eradicated, and an unholy nature be restored to its purity and original righteousness? How is another to secure these things in men? And, if not secured in them, how can the sin of a sinner, both in action and condition, be hidden from God? How can God be just and yet justify the ungodly?
Christ has solved all these problems, and more than done all the work which was needed. The sinner, united by faith to Christ, has now an assured safety, an unfailing righteousness, a more than sufficient satisfaction, a covert utterly impenetrable by the wrath or justice of God; and he will stand before the judgement seat of Christ, in the presence of men and angels, to manifest his Saviour's power in eradicating sin, by the good works wrought out by that Saviour's disciple in mortal flesh, even under the higher law of Christian duty.
(3.) As to man.
With respect to man especially, the purposes of the judgement day make it fit that it should be general, and public.
(a.) Because then will be revealed the character and acts of men.
It is set forth as a day when "each one of us shall give account of himself to God," (Rom. 14:12), which account shall comprise "every idle word that men shall speak." Matt. 12:36. This is to be at that time "when God shall judge the secrets of men." Rom. 2:16. The object of this trial is not to ascertain what men have done, but to make manifest to those who are judged, as well as to all others, the things which are already known to God. To this end, even the sins unknown to the offenders, and good deeds, forgotten by the righteous, will be brought to light. Matt 25:31-46. We are told that the Lord "will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall each man have his praise from God." 1 Cor. 4:5.
(b.) Because then will judgement be made as to each individual.
For this cause is it that "we must all be made manifest before the judgement seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:12. The very name of the day shows the object of its appointment, and the nature of the transactions in this direction, which will then occur. The descriptions of the judgement day, however figurative they may be supposed to be, mark this as an undoubted teaching of God's word. The wicked are condemned, because both of character and conduct. How this may be, can easily be understood. But the righteous are accepted, and rewarded, upon the same grounds. The reason of this is not so apparent. It doubtless is based upon the meritorious work of Christ, through which, by faith, they have been justified by God even in this life. But the references to their own personal acts show, also, a personal justification in that great day. This is the justification by works, seen in them even while on earth. It is the manifestation of the life-giving principle imparted to them on earth in regeneration, and exhibited by them during the processes of sanctification. The good works are the fruits of that vital union with Christ, by which "the life also of Jesus" is "manifested in our body." 2 Cor. 4:10; (cf. Gal. 2:20, and Rom. 8:1-4).
In the judgement, unto which men will thus be brought in the last day, there will be account taken of the light and knowledge which they have possessed. The heathen will be judged by a different law from that which will be applied to those who have had the light of revelation. Paul plainly teaches that the former have a law under which they live, (Rom. 2:14, 15), in want of conformity to, and violation of which they are "worthy of death," (Rom. 1:32); and that they are judged only by the law which they have. Rom. 2:12. Christ taught the same truth, generally, as applied to all the various degrees of knowledge, when he spoke of the servants, to be beaten with few or many stripes, according to their knowledge of their Lord's will. Luke 12:47, 48. He also taught it especially in comparing the degrees of guilt and condemnation of those who enjoy the knowledge of the gospel and those who lived before its proclamation. Matt. 12:41, 42; Luke 11:29-32; (cf. John 12:47, 48).
(c.) That the judgement is public and general is seen in what is said of the public bestowment of rewards and punishments.
The language here may perhaps be figurative, but must mean something, and can mean no less than the publicity of the awards Christ will give. No private judgement at death would account for the statements that all are to be gathered before Christ, and are to be separated by him into those on the right hand and those on the left, (Matt. 25:32, 33); nor for the declaration that, "in the end of this world, the Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity," Matt 13:41; nor for that further teaching in v. 49, that "the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the righteous."
V. THE PLACE OF THE FINAL JUDGEMENT.
It is evident, from what we have already seen, that the judgement scenes will occupy some place in the universe of God. Christ is to appear as the Son of Man, and, therefore, clothed in the body of his human nature, although that body will then have been glorified. The bodies of men, both righteous and the wicked, will have been previously raised, so that they shall be judged in the body for the deeds done in the body. The bodies, then, both of the Lord and of all men, will not only occupy space, but will so occupy it as to be mutually recognized as being in space.
The place may also be believed to be in some connection with our present earth. It is fit that this, which has been the scene of all the events which will culminate in the judgement day, shall also be the place of that final trial. It is natural to suppose that, as the first coming of the Lord was to this earth, to bear sin for the redemption of man, so his second coming in triumph, without sin unto salvation, will be to that part of the universe which has been thus signally distinguished as the theatre of God's most gracious work. The statements of Scripture are indeed meagre, but they say nothing which may not be interpreted in perfect consistency with this opinion. Yet, after all, the conclusion that the trial will be in connection with this earth, is so much a matter of inference only, as not to forbid that it may be at some other point in the universe. All that we are definitely told is that "we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord," (1 Thess. 4:17), and that "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 Pet. 3:10. But, while this does not deny, it does not necessarily teach, the destruction of the whole universe. The catastrophe may be limited to this earth and its atmosphere, and yet all the phenomena mentioned may occur. We also know that combustion of matter is not its destruction, but only a change in its form. This accords with the prediction of a new heavens and a new earth, (2 Pet. 3:13), and with those expressions which refer to it as a "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:21), and teach "that creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God." Rom. 8:21. But, whether the earth alone is to be purified by fire, or, as seems not so probable, the whole universe; or whether the judgement scene is to be connected with earth, or with some other point in the present, or in the renewed universe, it seems certain that it must be in some place. The place which is most probable is in connection with the point of space now occupied by this earth, and either in the atmosphere above it, during or after the configuration, or on the earth itself before it shall be burned.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Synergism: "...the doctrine that there are two efficient agents in regeneration, namely the human will and the divine Spirit, which, in the strict sense of the term, cooperate. This theory accordingly holds that the soul has not lost in the fall all inclination toward holiness, nor all power to seek for it under the influence of ordinary motives." The synergistic doctrine of prevenient grace does not resolve this issue, but only pushes it back, for if all have grace and only some believe the gospel, then what makes them to differ? Jesus Christ or something else in them? According to the synergist, something other than grace makes men to differ. This unscriptural view is the greatest threat to a true understanding of salvation in the Church today
Click on link below
Two Views of Regeneration by John Hendryx
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
OTHERS MAY, YOU CANNOT
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.
Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.
Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.
The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.
God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.
God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.
By G.D. Watson
G.D.Watson (1845-1924) was a Wesleyan Methodist minister and evangelist based in Los Angeles. His evangelistic campaigns took him to England, the West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Korea. He also wrote several books.
Here is some great teaching by Bro. Charles Leiter. The body of Christ needs to know how to pick out these false prophets. I would like to thank Mona Leiter for sending me this link.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
7 Characteristics of false Teachers by Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)
That Satan labours might and main, by false teachers, which are his messengers and ambassadors, to deceive, delude, and for ever undo the precious souls of men (Acts 20:28-30; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 4:14; 2 Tim. 3:4-6; Titus 1:11,12; 2 Peter 2:18,19): "I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err" (Jer. 23:13). "The prophets make my people to err" (Micah 3:5). They seduce them, and carry them out of the right way into by-paths and blind thickets of error, blasphemy, and wickedness, where they are lost forever. "Beware of false prophets, for they come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Mat. 7:15). These lick and suck the blood of souls: "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision" (Phil. 3:2). These kiss and kill; these cry, Peace, peace, till souls fall into everlasting flames, &c., Proverbs 7.
Now, the best way to deliver poor souls from being deluded and destroyed by these messengers of Satan is, to discover them in their colors, that so, being known, poor souls may shun them, and fly from them as from hell itself.
Now you may know them by these characters following:
THE FIRST CHARACTER
False teachers are men-pleasers (Gal. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:1-4). They preach more to please the ear than to profit the heart: "Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophecy no unto us right things: speak to us smooth things; prophecy deceits"' (Isa. 30:10). "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so. And what will you do in the end thereof?" (Jer. 5:30,31). They handle holy things rather with wit and dalliance (playful come-on) then with fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-undoers. They are like evil chirurgeons, that skin over the wound, but never heal it. Flattery undid Ahab and Herod, Nero and Alexander. False teachers are hell's greatest enrichers. Non acerba, sed blanda, Not bitter, but flattering words do all the mischief, said Valerian, the Roman emperor. Such smooth teachers are sweet soul-poisoners (Jer. 23:16,17).
THE SECOND CHARACTERFalse teachers are notable in casting dirt, scorn, and reproach upon the persons, names, and credits of Christ's most faithful ambassadors. Thus Korah, Dathan, and Abiram charged Moses and Aaron that they took too much upon them, seeing all the congregation was holy (Num. 16:3). You take too much state, too much power, too much honour, too much holiness upon you; for what are you more than others, that you take so much upon you? And so Ahab's false prophets fell foul on good Micaiah, paying of him with blows for want of better reasons (1 Kings 22:10-26). Yea, Paul, that great apostle of the Gentiles, had his ministry undermined and his reputation blasted by false teachers: "For his letters"' say they, "are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak and contemptible" (2 Cor. 10:10). They rather contemn him than admire him; they look upon him as a dunce rather than a doctor. And the same hard measure had our Lord Jesus from the Scribes and Pharisees, who laboured as for life to build their own credit upon the ruins of his reputation. And never did the devil drive a more full trade this way than he does in these days (Matt. 27:63). Oh! the dirt, the filth, the scorn that is thrown upon those whom the world is not worthy. I suppose false teachers mind not that saying of Austin, Quisquis volens detrahit famae, nolens addit mercedi meae, He that willingly takes from my good name, unwillingly adds to my reward.
THE THIRD CHARACTERFalse teachers are venters of the devices and visions of their own heads and hearts. "Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent then not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophecy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart (Jer. 14:14); "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Harken not unto the words of the prophets that prophecy unto you; they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord" (Jer. 23:16). Are there not multitudes in this nation whose visions are but golden delusions, lying vanities, brain-sick phantasies? These are Satan's great benefactors, and such as divine justice will hang up in hell as the greatest malefactors, if the physician of souls does not prevent it.
THE FOURTH CHARACTERFalse teachers easily pass over the great and weighty things both of law and gospel, and stand most upon those things that are of the least moment and concernment to the souls of men. "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned; from which some have swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, and understand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm" (1 Tim. 1:5-7). "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Matt. 23:2,3). False teachers are nice in the lesser things of the law, and as negligent in the greater. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strife of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself" (1 Tim. 6:3-5). If such teachers are not hypocrites in grain, I know nothing, Romans 2:22. The earth groans to bear them, and hell is fitted for them, Matt. 24:32.
THE FIFTH CHARACTERFalse teachers cover and color their dangerous principles and soul-impostures with very fair speeches and plausible pretenses, with high notions and golden expressions. Many in these days are bewitched and deceived, viz. illumination, revelation, deification, fiery triplicity, &c. As strumpets paint their faces, and deck and perfume their beds, the better to allure and deceive simple souls (Gal. 6:12; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rom. 16:17,18; Mat. 16:6,11,12; 7:15), so false teachers will put a great deal of paint and garnish upon their most dangerous principles and blasphemies, that they may the better deceive and delude poor ignorant souls. They know sugared poison goes down sweetly; they wrap up their pernicious, soul-killing pills in gold.
THE SIXTH CHARACTERFalse teachers strive more to win over men to their opinions, than to better them in their conversations. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves" (Matt. 24:17). They busy themselves most about men's heads. Their work is not to better men's hearts, and mend their lives; and in this they are very much like their father the devil, who will spare no pains to gain proselytes.
THE SEVENTH CHARACTERFalse teachers make merchandise of their followers. "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not" (2 Peter 2:1-3). They eye your goods more than your good; and mind more the serving of themselves, than the saving of your souls. So they may have your substance, they care not though Satan has your souls (Rev. 18:11-13). That they may the better pick your purse, they will hold forth such principles as are very indulgent to the flesh. False teachers are the great worshippers of the golden calf (Jer. 6:13).
Now, by these characters you may know them, and so shun them, and deliver your souls out of their dangerous snares; which that you may, my prayers shall meet-yours at the throne of grace.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009
"Marvel not at this– for the hour is coming, in which all who are in the graves shall hear his voice– and shall come forth; those who have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5:28-29
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
A man that is regenerate and "born of God," consisteth of two men (as a man may say), namely of "the old man," and of "the new man." "The old man" is like to a mighty giant, such a one as was Goliath; for his birth is now perfect. But "the new man" is like unto a little child, such a one as was David; for his birth is not perfect until the day of his general resurrection.
"The old man" therefore is more stronger, lusty, and stirring than is "the new man," because the birth of "the new man" is but begun now, and "the old man" is perfectly born. And as "the old man" is more stirring, lusty, and stronger than "the new man;" so is the nature of him contrary to the nature of "the new man," as being earthly and corrupt with Satan's seed; the nature of "the new man" being heavenly, and blessed with the celestial seed of God. So that one man, inasmuch as he is corrupt with the seed of the serpent, is an "old man;" and inasmuch as he is blessed with the seed of God from above, he is a "new man." Inasmuch as he is an "old man," he is a sinner and an enemy to God; so, inasmuch as he is regenerate, he is righteous and holy and a friend to God, so that he cannot sin as the seed of the serpent, wherewith he is corrupt even from his conception, inclineth him, yea, enforceth him to sin, and nothing else but to sin: so that the best part in man before regeneration, in God's sight, is not only an enemy, but "enmity" itself.