Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thomas Brooks Quote (The Will)

"The saints cannot sin with a whole will, but as it were with a half will, an unwillingness; not with a full consent, but with a dissenting consent" Brooks Precious remedies against Satan's devices Note 35 Pg.47).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thomas Brooks Quote (Sin)

"In a strict sense, there is no sin little, because there is no little God to sin against (Brooks Precious remedies against Satan's devices Pg. 45 (Note 32) Banner of Truth Trust 1993 Italics Mine).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Evangelical Perfection

Does God command us do something that we cannot possibly do? Jesus said that Our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (mat. 5:20). We are furthermore commanded by Jesus to be perfect as he is perfect. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Mat. 5:48). He also commanded the woman caught in adultery to, "God and sin no more" (Jn. 8:11).
The Pharisees were considered to be the quintessential example of morality in their day. How is it possible for our righteousness, mine in particular, to surpass that of the highest set earthly standard? Did Jesus mean that if we come to him in faith we would be imputed with his righteousness and as such we would be made perfect and have a righteousness that is far superior to the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees? I don't think this is the case, though such is the quality and nature of our imputed righteousness. Does Jesus mean that we ought to out do the Pharisees by flexing our moral muscles and more diligently keep the law of God outdoing them with a white knuckled tenacity and determinism? I do not think this is the case either. What then does Jesus mean?
The Pharisees had set out to keep the law of God without having a heart of faith. Romans 9:31,32 says, "But Israel which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law, For they stumbled at that stumbling stone." The stumbling stone is Christ. And also Matthew 15:8 says, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me." The Pharisees were moralistic hypocrites. They prided themselves because of their birth right, as children of Abraham, and as being authorities on the word of God. However, they missed the exemplary example of righteousness found in their father Abraham--his faith. Not only did the Pharisees attempt to satisfy God by clinging to the letter of the law, they perverted and corrupted the law of God by supplanting it with the traditions of men. Their righteousness, therefore, was perceived as obnoxious self righteousness, hypocrisy, and vile filthiness equivalent to that of filthy rags. This is how the best of the best falls short in the eyes of God. He sees more sin in Godless morality than we see in our faults.
To truly and savingly know God one must have both a head and heart knowledge and conformity to God. The Pharisees had a vain and corrupted knowledge of God and were completely devoid of any true heart felt faith towards God. The two must harmoniously work together. It is the Spirit of God that brings the two together, applying us to Jesus and him to us. One taken by itself is insufficient for saving faith. The mind must be in conformity to the revealed word of God. Sometimes we are intellectually wrong but our heart might be right. And sometimes our heart may be out of sink with what we know in our heads to be right. Sometimes the two are both far from alignment with God's word. This is where sin gets a foot hold and arises in us. "The heart is desperately wicked who can know it?" says the prophet Jeremiah.
To be perfect in an absolute sense is impossible in this present world and in this present body. There will never be a time on earth when the elect are without sin. Only two men and one woman have known absolute perfection, Adam, Eve, and Jesus. The former two were only intimately acquainted with it for a season. The two fell into sin while the other triumphed over sin. So strictly speaking it is impossible that we, having inherited the sin nature of our father Adam, can be perfect in the literal sense.
However we might be perfect evangelically. This is the case if both our head and heart give an over all complete acquiescence to Christ. Though we sin in particular instances and our hearts are not perfect with God in a sense we, nevertheless, generally and overwhelmingly agree with God that his word is right and worthy to be kept and honored. Any fault lies not in the high standard that is set but in the sinner that is weak and low. It is as if a father tells his child, here is what is required of you and the child failing comes to the father and despondently says, I failed to do your will. Please forgive me." The father gladly embraces the child and says after Jesus "go and sin no more." The child loves the father though having failed and still being flawed and sinful there is a sense in which the child is perfectly accepted by the father. The child is disciplined and sanctified for it. A relationship between the child and father is as a result strengthened, even in spite of sin. Over all the child really wants to please his father. We love our Lord and saviour and are intent in our whole man to do his will. But we fail. He accepts us however on the basis that we know and believe his law to be good however sinful we may be. We would not change one iota of it if given the chance. We do not hate it for its supremeness but love it supremely. The religious hypocrite would change God's law to suit his own fancies if given the chance as an earthly sinful child would make up his own rules by which to live by. He hates the light of God's law in the heart of his heart. He would kill the law giver if the occasion presented itself. In fact those Pharisaical God haters did put the Lord to a shameful and murderous death. They had an outward show of righteousness but internally God was far from them. This is why Jesus said that to lust is to commit adultery and to hate is murder. They had the outward part right but an inward acquiescence to God's law was absent. This is how it is possible for one to be perfect and how it is possible for our righteousness to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. For those that are pure at heart know that your good works are different from those that are not sanctified and your sin is different as well.
To not do a thing out of hypocritical hypocrisy for fear of loosing a reputation or out of fear of judgment by god, or on the basis of a false sense of righteousness is in a certain sense worse than to commit the actual sin. Though it is better, indeed commanded, that a sin not be committed whether one is a hypocrite or not. But though a Christian commit a certain sin he is still in a better state than a hypocrite, or atheistic moralist, both of which are not God's children. Because they are not sanctified by God and have no principle of life whereby to find cleansing for for their transgression and relief for their guilt. "And so David was said to be perfect in his heart towards God not turning from God except in the matter of the murderous plot against Uriah the Hittite and adulterous affair with Bathsheba. "David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite" (1 Kings 15:5). It was just in 1 Kings 15:3 that we are told that David's heart was perfect with the Lord. And in 1 Kings 9:4 we see that David walked "in integrity of heart", and in "uprightness."
He presumed on the grace of God in the matter of Uriah and Bathsheba but afterwards he repented in his heart over the sin. He sinned big but was as great and thorough in his repentance as he was hard in his sin. Just read of his repentance in Psalm 51! We know, however, that David committed more sins than the two that are mentioned. This is obviously the case due to the scriptures teaching on the depravity of man and the confessions of David himself throughout the Psalms. Another example of an evangelically perfect heart is found in the life instance of Asa. "But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days" (1 Kings 15:14). And in the life of Hezekiah. "I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore" (2 Kings 20:3). An unfortunate case to the contrary is seen in this situation of Solomon. "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father" (1 Kings 11:4). And so there are times when we may harbor iniquity in our hearts but we know that the Lord will not accept us and will be very displeased with us in such a condition. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:17-19). Therefore if we are to have a righteousness that far exceeds that of the Pharisaical hypocrite we must be perfect in out hearts towards God. True outward conformity to God's law is a right consequence of an evangelically perfect heart and is necessarily contingent on such a perfect heart. This is the real meaning and spirit of God's word.
It was on an episode of the Andy Griffith show where Barney rounded up everybody in town and threw them in jail for some trivial matter of the law such as jay walking. He like the Pharisees missed the point. They were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery. They caught her on the technicality of the law. But Jesus sent her away uncondemned. He also sent the religious hypocrites away with these words: "Let those without sin cast the first stone!" They knew that to lust after a woman was to commit adultery of the heart. And that to hate was to murder. And to "keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law (James 2:10,11).
So go and sin no more my brothers and sisters. And know that if you do, and you will, it does not vitiate the standard of God's law neither does your sin make you, as his children, any less evangelically perfect in his eyes (Hebrews 10:14). Though these things ought not to be, they are. And though sin ought not to be normative to us it is normal that we are, and ever will be sinners until the day of the redemption of our bodies. This is what separates a child from the hypocrite. A true child cannot be a hypocrite. This is a contradiction in terms for him. However he may take on the role of a hypocrite he is never at heart a true hypocrite, but has always confessed his sin and recognized his lot that he is both perfect and imperfect. We are perfect sinners. Not perfectly sinful, but perfect sinners!