Wednesday, August 29, 2007

John Calvin Was Not Saved by "The Queen of China"

The Christian in Romans Seven

Reflections of a Christian Philosopher on the Christian in Romans Seven
A Theological, Philosophical, and Epistemological Perspective
Robert N. Landrum
Acts and Paul
Professor Reggie Kidd
Spring 2004
Reformed Theological Seminary

It was one of my favorite biblical characters, Job, who posed this question: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” The obvious answer to Job, and to me as well, is “No one!” (Job 14:4) It was the prophet Jeremiah that made this complimentary observation “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil?” (Jeremiah. 13:23). The apostle Paul further reiterates this theme when he says in Romans seven, I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good” (Romans. 7:21).
In this paper, I will be looking at Romans seven and raising some philosophical and theological questions regarding the nature and scope of sanctification for Christians, i.e. what sanctification is and the extent to which a person may or may not actively obtain and achieve a sanctified life. More precisely, I wish to answer the questions of, “How far we can go in sanctification?” and, “What are the limits to which a Christian might be sanctified if there are any?”
Given the nature of the passage selection of Romans seven, it does not serve my purpose as much to entertain the positive side of sanctification as it does the negative side. In other words, this is primarily a paper about the limitations of sanctification. In this respect, the term indwelling sin in the believer may be a more precise theological term to use to describe this aspect of the sanctification process; but, nevertheless, I think this discussion falls under the topic of sanctification, broad as it may be.

The Controversy

Before getting into a discussion of the Christian in Romans seven I will briefly touch on a few formalities. The theological controversy that surrounds Romans seven is two fold. (1) There are those that argue that Paul refers to the state of an unbeliever, viz. himself. (2) There are those that argue that a believer is described in the passage (the position that I hold to).[1]

The Christian in Romans Seven

“For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:22-24).
To be sanctified means that one is set apart from the ordinary for the purpose of being used for a special purpose. In the case of Christianity the Christian is set apart for use by God. A more specific aspect to sanctification for the individual Christian is that one is to be separated from everything that defiles (Harrison 470-471). In Leviticus 20:26 the Lord says, “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.” Given this definition of sanctification we see that there is a distinction that is to be made from those that are God’s people and those that are not, i.e. the unbeliever.
It is out of this distinction that our morality as Christians is separated from that of non-Christians. It is separated in that our good deeds are recognized or sanctioned in a sense by God, whereas the unbeliever may do good and abstain from evil, which is in itself a form of righteousness, but not of the sort that God is pleased with in any spiritual or eternal way, in that he has not sanctified those deeds.[2]
We run into a problem though when it seems as if the unbeliever is outliving the Christian, morally speaking. In fact, it is a popular soapbox of the skeptic to point out a Christian that is not living a sanctified life. The criticism goes something like this: “Look at so and so.” “He professes to be a Christian, but I know pagans that are living on a higher moral plain than him.” Indeed, this is an unfortunate truth at times. Just because an unbeliever is without Christ does not mean that he will be as bad as he can be.
More often than not, Christians have a serious struggle with sanctification because of the severe extent of the depraved nature of many of those that are converted. Jesus said that it is the sick that are in need of a physician, not the well. The problem is that there are those that have a whole lot more dirty laundry set in front of them for the cleaning then others may have. Augustine rightly made the observation that there are those that are blessed with a greater sense of general restraining grace.

If man is called by you, follows your voice, and has avoided doing those acts which I am recalling and avowing in my own life, he should not mock the healing of a sick man by the Physician, whose help has kept him from falling sick, or at least enabled him to be less gravely ill. He should love you no less, indeed, even more; for he sees that the one who delivered me from the great sicknesses of my sins is also he through whom he may see that he himself has not been a victim of the same great sickness (Augustine 32-33).

It is apparent that Augustine is here talking about another Christian, but the analogy applies to those that are not Christians. As mentioned above, unbelievers are not always as bad as they can be. This is due to the same general grace mentioned by Augustine. Paul points out in Romans 2:14, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.” This answers the old philosophical and theological question: Can a man be good apart from religion? He most certainly can! But it is to no eternal avail.
Christians have an epiphany that the unbeliever does not have. We are faced with the abrupt hard reality that we remain sinners after our conversion to Christ even to the point of loosing an outward witness to the fact of our salvation, becoming in a way and for a time confused with the unregenerate. For some this may seem to be an elementary principle (and it is); but I think that our understanding of all of the ramifications of this is lacking, and our attitude toward our brothers and sisters in Christ that are struggling, perhaps more than others, is more often than not expressed in a shallow and superficial way.
What I wish to probe into is that other side of the statement “we are still sinners”. That side that is not said in a passing, casual, colloquial and even cavalier way; but rather is expressed out of the sense of despair, and devastation that is felt on the part of the Christian sinner who has come to terms in a face to face manner with the realization of the fact that he is still a wretched sinner and that he will remain a wretched sinner all of his earthly days. Again Job says, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1).
I wonder what the motives are for people that do not want to affirm the Christian in Romans seven. I am sure there are those that do so solely on a conviction that is based strictly on hermeneutics. However, I think that there is another underlying problem and that is pride! We do not like to think about the reality of our sins. But I cannot understand why really. Unless we are afraid of what the usual immediate consequences are to owning up to our sins. We may be afraid of what the church, the elders, our friends, or the world in general may think of us. I am surprised at this! It is part of the central message of the gospel that Jesus came to save his people from their sins. We cannot be ashamed of this. Quite the contrary, we should shout it from the housetops!
We are not allowed to be sinners in any real way after our initial conversion and repentance. If we would be honest though, I cannot help but to think that we must affirm that our ultimate salvation from sin will not take place in the here and now but in the not yet, i.e. our future eternal state. In the mean time God has given us guidelines on how to live with this dark shadow. Just to name one passage in support of this we can turn to Galatians 6:1 which says, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken on any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Rather than the church actively incorporating this principle in the lives of its members we sometimes have the tendency to point out another’s faults in a prideful, snobbish, and legalistic way. It is no wonder that people are afraid to be honest with their sins. Why are we not allowed to be the sinners that we are?
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not minimizing the active role of sanctification in the life of a Christian. Nor am I an antinomian in any way, shape, or form. I am a reformed Calvinist. Furthermore, I do not intend to diminish the doctrine of repentance or the mortification of sins. But as I have already mentioned, I am not expounding on those topics here, but their counterpart; and this is where the emphasis naturally is. I wonder what sort of revival might break out in the land if we recognized the simple fact that it is our sins that get the attention of the Holy Spirit in a saving and healing way. Without our sins we cannot be saved and because of our sins the Holy Spirit has work yet to do in our lives. But to admit this is to overcome the fear of being pointed out, or even being thrown out of the church in the name of a so-called biblical excommunication. What would become of our sanctification if we were to cry out to God for his Holy Spirit to work in helping us to mortify our sins and become more like Jesus. And to be able to accept in the right spirit that where sin abounds grace abounds much more (Romans 5:20).

Arthur W. Pink makes this observation in his sermon The Christian in Romans 7,

The controversy which has raged over Rom. 7 is largely the fruitage of the Perfectionism of Wesley and his followers. That brethren, whom we have cause to respect, should have adopted this error in a modified form, only shows how widespread today is the spirit of Laodiceanism. To talk of “getting out of Rom. 7 into Rom 8” is excuseless folly. Rom. 7 describes the conflict of the two natures in the child of God: it simply sets forth in detail what is summarized in Gal. 5:7. Rom. 7:14, 15, 18, 19, 21 are now true of every believer on earth. Every Christian falls far, far short of the standard set before him—we mean God’s standard, not that of the so-called “victorious life” teachers. If any Christian reader is ready to say that Rom.7:19 does not describe hi life, we say in all kindness, that he is sadly deceived. We do not mean by this that every Christian breaks the laws of men, or that he is an overt transgressor of the laws of God. But we do mean that his life is far, far below the level of the life our Savior lived here on earth. We do mean that there is much of “the flesh” still evident in every Christian—not the least in those who make such loud boastings of their spiritual attainments. We do mean that every Christian has urgent need to daily pray for the forgiveness of his daily sins (Luke 11:4), for “in many things we all stumble (James 3:2, R.V.) (Pink 2, 3).

Objections Answered
As for the objection that Paul in not talking about his present state as a Christian, but that he is referring to the time before his conversion: to this I respond first of all that Paul does not say “O wretched man that I was”, but “O wretched man that I am!” Besides this, it does not make sense for Paul to refer to himself as the “chief of sinners,” when he might have said that I “was the chief of sinners.” Furthermore, Paul says, that he delights in the law of God and serves the law of God with his mind. This is something that cannot be done if one is not converted. To do so would mean that one is converted. In an unregenerate state we cannot even love God intellectually. A non-Christian cannot delight in God’s law. Proverbs 15:26 says, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord.” Thirdly, it is objected that a Christian cannot be a slave to sin. But we are indeed slaves to sin. At least this is true as regards our unredeemed flesh. One the one hand, we are free from sin in the death of Christ, but on the other, we still await the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:22-23). To this objection I answer that what is meant as a slave to sin must be understood epistemologically. Before the law we did not know of our bondage to sin, but since the law we are knowledgeable of our sinfulness (Romans 7:7-12). It is true that Paul says, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness” (Romans 6:20). This seems to indicate that we are no longer slaves, and we are not any longer, at least, epistemologically. Before our conversion our minds were darkened to the point that we were the slaves of sin. But now after our conversion, we have a newfound liberation from the bondage of sin. Now we are slaves to God (Romans 6:22). Our minds are enlightened and we are now able to see the kingdom of God (John 3), but our flesh has not caught up with us in this respect yet; this where sanctification takes an active role in our lives. And this is how Paul was able to say that there is now warfare between the law of his mind and his flesh. Nowhere in the bible are we definitively, universally, and absolutely said to be set free from sin.

The Myth of Perfectionism

There are some extremist that assert that we can be made perfect in this world due to making the right decisions at all times and not giving in to temptation. This is a principle that I reject. But to deny the fact of indwelling sin in the believer or the picture of the Christian in Romans seven is tantamount to affirming perfectionism. The question that cannot be adequately answered by those that reject the possibility for a Christian in Romans seven is, “How do you explain the obvious self-evident and directly evident fact that we actively and passively remain sinners after conversion?” This question cannot be answered if one does not acquiesce to a literal interpretation of Romans seven. Where does one go to affirm this empirical and rational fact if not to Romans seven? And indeed, there may be other points of support for the doctrine of indwelling sin in the believer, but why not accept Romans seven as a primary source for the doctrine? The answer escapes me.
Perfectionism is doomed to failure from two points of view. It is problematic first of all in that no one in his right mind will claim that he has never sinned at all. Because of this I cannot help but to think that one is therefore disqualified from being perfect due to past shortcomings. Secondly, who is it among mortal humans that can make the claim (legitimately) that they are living a life of absolute moral perfection? (And I am simplifying things by restricting the conversation to moral perfection, and not bringing things like everyday inerrancy and infallibility into the equation.) I am afraid that such a person is guilty of the worst kind of self-deception and pride. To disprove this, we merely have to conduct a simple empirical experiment. I am sure that one would only have to follow such a person around for a few days—if that long! Or ask his friends and family whether or not this is true of him. I think that if we will all be honest with ourselves, basing our argument on rational and empirical evidence, we may conclude that perfectionism is out of our grasp. Biblically speaking there is only one perfect person, Jesus our Lord. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Lets Not Forget About Original Sin[3]

There may indeed be a third reason that underlies the two points just mentioned, that of original sin. According to the doctrine of original sin we do not merely commit sins, but we are sin! Original sin still affects us after conversion. This simple observation is to often blurred, due to our emphasis on it as it pertains to the unconverted.
As a reminder here is a reiteration of the doctrine. We have inherited a sinful nature from our first father Adam. And because of this our bodies will eventually pay the ultimate penalty declared by God in Gen. 3, i.e. death, for being corrupted in this manner. Job recognized this. “Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with you; you have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass (Job 14:5.) We will all face this judgment and in a timely fashion at that (Job 14:1-3).[4]
Jesus came as the second Adam to restore to us what the first Adam lost for us.
However, this restoration is a process. We are not able to partake of the benefits of eternal life in Christ, but in all due time. We are declared justified at the time of faith in Christ, but the death penalty on our bodies remains.
If the doctrine of original sin is true, and I believe it is, then there is an intrinsic and natural pollutant that has irreversibly stained our bodies making them corrupt. This corruption will not be reversed until our bodies take on a new form that is incorrupt. (see Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as regarding this). But until then we must live as Christians in Romans seven.

Appendix I
Here are some insightful observations made by some of the ancient philosophers. I add this to illustrate the fact of the effects of original sin in our decision making process. The greatest philosophers that the world has ever known have wrestled with why it is that we do the things we do. In trying to justify and understand our choices we have this testimony of Socrates and Aristotle on the subject.

Some Philosophical Observations made by the Ancient Philosophers
There is really no denying that the world is filled with evil both natural and moral. The ancient philosophers made this observation understanding that there was a serious problem with man’s moral condition. They wrestled with the problems associated with why we make the choices that we make.
For Socrates, evil is ignorance and pleasure is good. We may be mistaken about the good and as a result do evil. But for Aristotle, it is out of a weakness of the will (incontinence) that leads one to do evil.
In Plato’s Protagoras, Socrates attempts to refute the argument that one does evil knowingly because he is seduced and overpowered by pleasure. He argues that to be overcome by pleasure is to really be ignorant of what is truly good. It is because of a defect in knowledge that we choose evil and not good. “Then, I said, that no man voluntarily pursues evil, or that which he thinks to be evil. To pursue what one believes to be evil rather than what is good is not in human nature” (Protagoras 64, source of quotation unknown).[5]
Aristotle argues that:

The incontinent man, knowing that what he does is bad, does it as a result of passion, while the continent man, knowing that his appetites are bad, refuses on account of his rational principle to follow them….Now we may ask what kind of right judgment has the man who behaves incontinently. That he should behave so when he has knowledge, some say is impossible; for it would be strange—so Socrates thought—if when knowledge was in a man something else could master it and drag it about like a slave. For Socrates was entirely opposed to the view in question, holding that there is no such thing as incontinence; no one, he said, when he judges acts against what he judges best—people act so only by reason of ignorance. Now this view plainly contradicts the apparent facts and we must inquire about what happens to such a man…that the man who behaves incontinently does not, before he gets into this state, think he ought to act so, is evident….And further the possession of knowledge in another sense than those just named is something that happens to men; for within the case of having knowledge but not using it we see a difference of state, admitting of the possibility of having knowledge in a sense and yet not having it, as in the instance of a man asleep, mad, or drunk. But now this is just the condition of men under the influence of passions; for outbursts of anger and sexual appetites and some other such passions, it is evident, actually alter our bodily condition, and in some men even produce fits of madness. It is plain, then, that incontinent people must be said to be in a similar condition to men asleep, mad, or drunk. (Ethics vi-vii, source of quotation unknown).

One has to hand it to the ancient philosophers. It is amazing how close they come sometimes to representing biblical truth. The doctrine of original sin is clearly evident in that they wrestle with the fact that we cannot always choose the good. Socrates rationalizes by saying we mistake the evil for good and Aristotle, equates choices of evil to madness.
They were masters of processing the data given to us through natural revelation. They fall short, however, of a pure correspondence theory of truth in that they do not have, or use, whatever the case may be, God’s special revelation, i.e. his Word. This is a necessary guide for properly interpreting knowledge that comes to us through natural revelation. Apart from God’s word knowledge, as such, is distorted. In this instance, fallen man is left to interpret the natural world through a dirty lens so to speak. (It is also true that the image that we get of the world is imperfect due to the curse on the natural world as well.). There is no denying the fact of our fallen condition with or without special revelation.

Appendix II
A Glimpse into my own Christian Experience

At the time I become a Christian (at least this is the case for me and I assume this to be standard in all conversion experiences), I became enlightened to a greater understanding, or rather knowledge of, the reality of sin in my life and its effects. In this sense I believe that the theme of Romans seven is basically an issue of epistemology.
I do not mean to say that I did not know the difference between good and evil, but rather I was enlightened as regards to who it was that I offended most with my sins. When I would do something wrong, my conscience would condemn me, but that was the extent of the matter really. I have always believed in God, and in a way I believed that there was the chance that I would go to hell if I did not do right.
The message of Romans seven is not really about that though. Romans seven has to do with epistemology on a higher level then such basic (natural)[6] notions. The point of Romans seven is that we are slaves to sin apart from Christ. This is something that I did not know! I did not know how bad off I really was until I was “freed from sin” in the death of Christ.
For me sin’s reign in my life was first and foremost epistemological. It wasn’t until I started trying to get rid of sin that I came to the realization that it is not that easily gotten rid of! If someone would have told me I was a sinner I would have agreed in a caviler way. However, if some one would have told me that I was an absolute slave to sin and son of the devil, I would have been grossly insulted, and swelling up with pride I would have closed the door on that conversation. But indeed that is what my state was (Note Ephesians 2). There was that higher plane of knowledge that was missing that made me a slave to sin. I was the worst kind of slave, one that was a slave and did not even know it in any meaningful sense. Adam sold me to Satan and he owned me. My ownership to him was marked by the deeds that I would do. But I was living blindly in the most important sense to this.
Upon receiving a spiritual awakening, I began that process of sanctification. This is where the rubber meets the road—when our corruption begins to be challenged. Upon starting out, I confused sanctification with moral legalism only to prove further the depths of my depravity! After a few years of being immersed in legalism, I came to the conclusion that I had not been making progress in sanctification, at least in this regard. With this new revelation I plummeted into a state of despair and even began to entertain some sins of the past (for I thought that at least I could remove my self from any accusations of hypocrisy). It is after many years of struggling with sin and even episodes of despairing thoughts that I may not be a Christian after all, that I have found solas in this interpretation of Romans seven.[7]
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not condoning sin. I abhor it! I do not think that we should sin that grace may abound. God forbid it! But what is one to do when he realizes that there is no escaping sin in this life? There is only one thing left to do. Cry out with Paul “who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Thank God—Christ our Lord!
If there is no Christian in Romans seven, then I am not a Christian! For I find an exact representation of myself in the portrait that has been so beautifully painted in this text. Therein lies the explanation of my predicament, i.e. my struggles in this life with my sinful nature—a problem that seems to be contradictory of what it means to be a sanctified Christian, and indeed would be apart from this passage. The internal torment that leads to a despair beyond all description; yes, such a despair that will even drive the strongest minded person to the brink of insanity, will continuously close in on the true Christian that feels the wretchedness that accompanies sin. But thanks be to God we have Romans seven that tells us all is normal. This is what stops the despair that comes along with not being able to do the impossible. And this is what gives us hope for our future and comprehensive deliverance from sin.

Augustine. Confessions. Ed. Henry Chadwick. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Harrison, Everett. Ed. Baker’s Dictionary of Theology. Michigan: Baker Book House, 1991.
Kidd, Reggie. Acts Pauline Epistles. Course Compact Disc: 2004
Pink, Arthur W. The Christian in Romans 7. Pensacola: Chapel Library.

[1] I will not belabor the points of controversy due to the shortness of the paper. I would rather try to build my case for the position that I hold to.
[2] See Martin Luther on active and passive righteousness.
[3] For a further discussion on original sin read Augustine and Pelagius on the topic. Due to the short nature of this paper, there is not space to discuss all that should be mentioned about this.
[4] As it stands there does not seem to be any hope for Job but as verse 14 indicates there is ! There is the hope of the resurrection of the body to eternal life for all those that are in Christ. It is then that we will be set free from this life of sin. But I do not wont to give away the end of the story just jet.
[5] The source of this quotation is a Xerox copy that is not distinctly marked by way of editor and publisher and, therefore, is not in the bibliography.
[6] Remember that Calvin’s observations that natural revelation extends to the person as well as the natural world, i.e. we know God intuitively. He is revealed to us in our mind.
[7] I am not here asserting that there was or is no distinguishing marks of sanctification in my life. After all I have devoted my life as much as is possible for me to do with my limitations to the service of Christ. Though the waters may be turbulent on the surface at times the currents that bring me closer to Christ are always moving.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"Be always as cheerful as ever you can,
For few will delight in a sorrowful man."

"Hood, visited by a clergyman whose features, as well as language, were lugubrious, looked up at him compassionately and said, 'My dear sir, I'm afraid your religion doesn't agree with you.' The same remark might be made to others who seem to have just religion enough to make them miserable. They forget the precept 'Rejoice in the Lord'" (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars vol. I Pg. 61)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

a Kempis Quote

"A man often goes in eager pursuit of something he wants; when he has got it, he doesn't feel the same about it. Man's affections are unstable, and are apt to drive him from one desirable object to the next, so that even in trivial matters it is well worth renouncing oneself" (a Kempis, Imitation bk. 3 pg. 173).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"As you hope for mercy, show mercy."
"Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy Mat. 5:7 " (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars vol. I Pg. 58).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"An ounce of revelation outweighs a mountain of speculation" (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars vol. I Pg. 58).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"Bear-footed folk should not tread on thorns."
Those who are peculiarly sensitive in any direction should keep out of the way of the evil they dread" (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars vol. I Pg. 60).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"A sermon's length is not its strength. "
"It may be very much its weakness. In this case brevity is a virtue. It is a pity to weary the head when we should win the heart. Some divines are long in their sermons because they are short in their studies" (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars vol. I Pg. 56).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"Any boy or girl you see
Can leap o'er a fallen tree.

As soon as the man is down, there are plenty to triumph over him. A hare can sport with the beard of a dead lion. In fact, some spirits take peculiar delight in pouring contempt upon the great in the day of their calamity" (Sspurgeon, Salt Cellars vol. I).

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Lord give me grace for paitence and understanding towards my family. Administer strength to me for the work that is required in this world (especially as relates to your kingdom and not just according to necessary manual labors). Teach me wisdom and give me knowledge according to your ways. Draw near to me so I can see your perfections more clearly. Do not let Satan tempt me. Show me that your beauty is more beautiful than anything this world has to offer. And that pleasure in you is far greater than any worldly pleasures. I know this but sometimes my mind would reverse things at times and have me look in the wrong places for what I can only find in you. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you. My fallen flesh is crafty and causes me to see in a distorted way. Keep me straight on this. All that I need is you. Pursuit of happiness anywhere other than in you is a false happiness. Everytime I say "There it is." "This will make me happy." And it is not you, I find myself unfulfilled in my desires. It is sinful to think there is something out there that will bring me peace other than you. I am let down and disappointed every time I take on such a pursuit. What I am looking for I already have. It is sinful madness to look elsewhere. Bring this to my remembrance the next time the fever of temptation sets in on me. Amen. (Robert N. Landrum).

Friday, August 10, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"A saint is often under a cross, but never under a curse. Sweet comfort this is to the afflicted believer. In a sea of sorrow there is not a drop of wrath to the man who is in Christ Jesus" (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars Vol. I).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"A sheep must be fed on the ground."
"We must preach according to the capacity of our hearers. The Lord Jesus did not say 'Feed my giraffes,' but 'feed my sheep.' We must not put the fodder on a high rack by our fine language, but use great plainness of speech" (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars vol. I).

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Lord thank you for the cross. I am aware of your sufferings for me--how you died for my sins. Make me more aware so that I can be closer to you. It is my one desire that I walk with you in your ways. This world and all that is in it is fleeting. It is only a matter of time till we all go into eternity. Give me a taste of your goodness as I suffer this life I now live longing to be with you. No, rather fill me to till I cannot hold anymore with your presence.
Father grant me these three things: To have the mind of Christ that I might know you and your ways , to have the love of Christ that I might love you, and those you have given me to love that are dearest to me. And having given me these as an illumination to my soul give me the compassion of Christ and use me as a light in this world.
Lord forgive me for my childishness and foolishness. Forgive me for talking when I should have remained silent. Forgive me for remaining silent when I should have spoken. Forgive me for loosing my temper in sinful ways. Forgive me for not being patient. Forgive me for slothfulness in your work. For give me for doubting your future provisions. Forgive me for not giving all of my self to my wife and my children as regards this duty. Forgive me for entertaining worldly thoughts and sinful lusts. Forgive me for overindulgence when I should have used moderation. Forgive me for my lack of knowledge in your word. Forgive me for being prideful knowing that a worm has nothing of his own to boast of. Forgive me for not loving as you have loved me. Forgive me for secret sin that is grievous to your spirit and is a cancer to my soul, such sin that I may not even be aware of in my life, because in its very nature it is hidden . It is hidden to me but not to others and most importantly it is not hidden to you. This is probably the worst sin one can have in that I am not privy to its deceitful workings. It is almost worse than presumptuous outward sins in that they rot the interior of the soul in areas unseen, giving the appearance of a sound structure, when in reality there is no soundness at all. Forgive me of all of these and more.
As you see I do not limit your atonement but am in much need of your grace.
And Lord having forgiven me all, help me to forget what is past and press onward having my eyes fixed on you. Robert N. Landrum

Friday, August 3, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"A child of light may walk in darkness, and a child of darkness may walk in light."

"The light of the ungodly man comes from the dying sparks of his own fire; the light of the righteous is a sun which may be under a cloud, but is ever shining. Bunyan's ditty is worth quoting: he describes his pilgrim in the valley of the shadow of death, and says to him--

'Poor man! where art thou now? thy day is night.
Good man! be not cast down, thou yet art right.
The way to heaven lies by the gates of hell;
Cheer up; hold out, and all things shall go well.'" (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars vol. I)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

World View Ministries is Now Online

I am happy to announce that I made the first post on the World View Ministries blog today.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Is Being a Christian Easy Like Some Imply?

"When he has tried me I shall come out as Gold" (Job 23:10, ESV)

When he has tried me!

Many misleading Christian leaders preach an easy life for those that would become Christians. They are wrong. If anything it is harder to live as a Christian than not. There is no easy life that awaits the Christian. There is no "cheap grace." (Though if it were not cheap we could not afford it as Steve Brown says, but this is not what is meant here.) The cost of discipleship is high. It demands one's whole life. We belong to God to do as he sees fit to do with us.

Life is not always a bed of roses whether you are a Christian or not. But for the Christian there is much adversity to face and overcome. The world rejects us as we reject it. Satan temps us. Sin entices us. And our very own flesh which still awaits redemption turns on us at times, fighting in an inward battle against everything we aim to be in Christ. This makes life difficult at times to say the least. Considering that the whole of our lives were spent in pursuit of satisfaction of these things mentioned--such things that we abhor now, but must still wrestle with on a daily basis--it is a wonder that we can stand it.

Furthermore, contrary to what many false teachers would have us believe, God, who will not have us as we were, but must change us for the better, uses many trials in our lives as a means to this end. At times evil in the world is mysteriously used for our good and his glory. He disciplines us, tests our faith--matures us.

Though its not easy we have one advantage. Knowing that God loves us and has our best interest in view we do not loose heart and are not broken under the weight of discouragement; rather we welcome trials and temptation, counting them as joy even (James 1:2) hoping that they do not come on the one hand, but taking the occasion of faith on the other when they do come. Unlike the unbeliever who has no hope we take our new disposition to be such that we can even glory in tribulations (Rom. 5:3) For when he has tried us we come out as Gold.