A Pupil of Scripture

“Now, in order that true religion may shine upon us, we ought to hold that it must take its beginning from heavenly doctrine and that no one can get even the slightest taste of right and sound doctrine unless he be a pupil of Scripture.”

~ John Calvin (1509-1564)

The Rock

“Let God be exalted, The Rock of my salvation!”

~ 2 Samuel 22:47 (NKJV)

The doctrine of God’s immutability is of the highest significance for religion. The contrast between being and becoming marks the difference between the Creator and the creature. Every creature is continually becoming. It is changeable, constantly striving, seeks rest and satisfaction, and finds this rest in God, in Him alone, for only He is pure being and no becoming. Hence, in Scripture God is often called the Rock.

~ Herman Bavinck (1854-1921)

Who Am I?

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

~ Matthew 16:15-16 (NKJV)

This, beloved, is the only answer that will suffice in the eyes of God the Father. Jesus, you are the Christ, the promised Messiah, and not only this You are God’s own dear begotten Son. Peter’s confession is short, but it embraces all that is contained in our salvation. Jesus is not only the Son of Man, but Son of God, the living God in contrast to false gods and dead idols – Jesus is the only begotten Son of the one true and living God. It is in Jesus alone the sinner is loved, forgiven, justified, and reconciled to God the Father.

~ apl

The Plan of Salvation

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)

The plan of salvation by Christ reveals God as willing to be reconciled. He is ready to pardon, and to be at peace. If the sinner repents and believes, God can now consistently forgive him, and admit him to favor. It is therefore a plan by which the mind of God and of the sinner can become reconciled, or united in feeling and in purpose. The obstacles on the part of God to reconciliation, arising from his justice and Law, have been removed, and he is now willing to be at peace. The obstacles on the part of man, arising from his sin, his rebellion, and his conscious guilt, may be taken away, and he can now regard God as his friend.

~ Albert Barnes, Notes on the Whole Bible

Where Our Minds Are

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.

~ Philippians 4:8

The old adage goes something like this: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” The thoughts of our mind ultimately become the destiny of our life. The thoughts we entertain, like the charts on a ship, set our lives on a particular course. And this course charted for us by our thoughts can be for better or worse depending on what thoughts we allow ourselves to cultivate and take root in our mind.

In our text today, the Apostle Paul exhorts the Christians at Philippi to constrain their thoughts, to discipline their minds, to focus, to think or meditate on such things that please the Lord and conform their thinking to such lofty ideals that bring about His honor and glory. He tells these believers, whatever is true, whatever is lovely or of good report, whatsoever has virtue or is praiseworthy, that it is in these things; it is here where our heart and mind should lie.

The inward topics our mind should dwell on should tend towards outward holiness and righteousness in our life, not away from it. The characteristics of truth, love and virtue are of a godly sort. These are the attributes of thought and attitudes of heart those who follow Christ should seek to develop because they will move us ultimately closer to Him.

Two of the most beneficial ways to train our minds to dwell on such noble things are Scripture reading and prayer. Through these two means of grace, our minds, which are by nature opposed to such thoughts, will, by God’s grace, slowly yet surely bend towards His goodness and glory. But like in our passage, Christians must be reminded of our duty in this regard.

So, are you actively seeking to conform your thoughts to such characteristics as Paul describes here in Philippians? Do you find your mind wandering into areas of unrighteousness which may lead to sinful patterns of life? Do you make diligent use of Scripture and prayer to help keep you on course towards holy and pure living? May we seek God’s help to do so.

~ apl

The Ultimate Question

"Who do you say that I am?" ~ Matt. 16:15

From ancient philosophers to modern scholars, people have delved into timeless questions. What are the origins of the universe? Is there really any such thing as good and evil? Where did man come from? What is the meaning of life? Mankind has relentlessly prodded and plied on these ubiquitous questions with little to no avail for centuries on end.

Yet, there is only one question that truly matters. It is the one question every person must eventually face. This crucial question draws a spiritual line in the sand which divides and defines the whole human race. It is a question of reckoning. This essential question confronts the man, challenges the mind and pierces the very heart and soul.

Jesus puts this question to everyone who ever lives, “Who do you say that I am?” And to be sure, there are as many opinions about who Jesus was and is, as there are about the origins of the universe. In Jesus’ own day, He was likened to Elijah and Jeremiah. Some thought He was John the Baptist. Yet, all of these answers fall short of the glorious truth.

Peter, the Apostle, replies to our Lord’s question saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This, beloved reader, is the only satisfactory answer. None other will do. Jesus is the Christ, or He is nothing. And while foolish men may continue their search for the meaning of life, Jesus is Life. And He is asking you, “Who do you say that I am?” May your answer to this ultimate question echo Peter’s own, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.