EVERYWHERE, EVERYWHERE, CHRISTMAS TONIGHT!�
That there were in the world multiplied millions who had never heard of Christmas did not matter to our poet for the purpose of his poem. He was expressing an emotional fact, not a statistical one.
Throughout the Western world we tend to follow the poet and approach Christmas emotionally instead of factually. It is the romance of Christmas that gives it its extraordinary appeal to that relatively small number of persons of the earth�s population who regularly celebrate it.
So completely are we carried away by the excitement of this midwinter festival that we are apt to forget that its romantic appeal is the least significant thing about it. The theology of Christmas too easily gets lost under the gay wrappings, yet apart from its theological meaning it really has none at all. A half dozen doctrinally sound carols serve to keep alive the great deep truth of the Incarnation, but aside from these, popular Christmas music is void of any real lasting truth. The English mouse that was not even stirring, the German Tannenbaum so fair and lovely and the American red-nosed reindeer that has nothing to recommend it have pretty well taken over in Christmas poetry and song. These along with merry old St. Nicholas have about displaced Christian theology.
We must not forget that the Church is the custodian of a truth so grave and urgent that its importance can not be overemphasized, and so vast and incomprehensible that even an apostle did not try to explain it; rather it burst forth from him as an astonished exclamation:
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations;
was believed on in the world,
(1 Timothy 3:16)
This is what the Church is trying to say to mankind but her voice these days is thin and weak and scarcely heard amid the commercialized clangor of �Silent Night.�
It does seem strange that so many persons become excited about Christmas and so few stop to inquire into its meaning; but I suppose this odd phenomenon is quite in harmony with our unfortunate human habit of magnifying trivialities and ignoring matters of greatest import. The same man who will check his tires and consult his road map with utmost care before starting on a journey may travel for a lifetime on the way that knows no return and never once pause to ask whether or not he is headed in the right direction.
The Christmas message, when stripped of its pagan overtones, is relatively simple: God is come to earth in the form of man. Around this one dogma the whole question of meaning revolves. God did come or He did not; He is come or He is not, and the vast accumulation of sentimental notions and romantic practices that go to make up our modern Christmas cannot give evidence on one side or the other.
Certain religious teachers in apostolic times refused to believe that Jesus was actually God come in the flesh. They were willing to exhaust the language of unctuous flattery to describe His glorious manhood, but they would have none of His deity. Their basic philosophy forbade them to believe that there could ever be a union of God and human flesh.Matter, they said, is essentially evil. God who is impeccably holy could never allow Himself contact with evil. Human flesh is matter, therefore God is not come in the flesh.
Certainly it would not be difficult to refute this negative teaching. One would only need to demonstrate the error of the major premise, the essential sinfulness of matter, and the whole thing would collapse. But that would be to match reason against reason and take the mystery of godliness out of the realm of faith and make of it merely another religious philosophy. Then we would have rationalism with a thin Christian veneer. How long before the veneer wore off and we had only rationalism?
While faith contains an element of reason, it is essentially moral rather than intellectual. In the New Testament unbelief is a sin, and this could not be so if belief were no more than a verdict based upon evidence. There is nothing unreasonable about the Christian message, but its appeal is not primarily to reason. At a specific time in a certain place God became flesh, but the transcendence of Christ over the human conscience is not historic; it is intimate, direct and personal.
Christ�s coming to Bethlehem�s manger was in harmony with the primary fact of His secret presence in the world in preincarnate times as the Light that lighteth every man. The sum of the New Testament teaching about this is that Christ�s claims are self-validating and will be rejected only by those who love evil. Whenever Christ is preached in the power of the Spirit, a judgment seat is erected and each hearer stands to be judged by his response to the message. His moral responsibility is not to a lesson in religious history but to the divine Person who now confronts him.
�Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight.� But Christmas either means more than is popularly supposed or it means nothing.
We had better decide.
Was America once a Christian nation?
Exclusive: Bill Federer looks at Obama’s 2006 statement in light of state constitutions
“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.” – President Barack Obama, June 28, 2006
Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out “whatever we once were”?
Originally, laws that governed personal behavior were under states’ jurisdiction, not federal.
People today are aware that some states allow minors to consume alcohol, and others do not; some states have smoking bans, and others do not; some states allow gambling, and others do not; some states attempt to limit the Second Amendment, and others do not; some states allow gay marriage, and others do not; and one state allows prostitution, while the rest do not.
At the time the Constitution was written, religion was under each individual state’s jurisdiction, and each state expanded religious tolerance at its own speed.
The U.S. Constitution went into effect June 21, 1788, when two-thirds of the states ratified it.
What was in those original 13 state Constitutions concerning religion at the time those states ratified the U.S. Constitution? [Caps added throughout for emphasis.]
DELAWARE – first to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:
“Every person … appointed to any office … shall … subscribe … ‘I … profess faith in GOD THE FATHER, and in JESUS CHRIST His only Son, and in the HOLY GHOST, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.’”
PENNSYLVANIA – second to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution, signed by Ben Franklin:
“Each member, before he takes his seat, shall … subscribe … ‘I do believe in one GOD, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’”
NEW JERSEY – third to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:
“All persons, professing a belief in the faith of any PROTESTANT sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government … shall be capable of being elected.”
GEORGIA – fourth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1777 state constitution:
“Representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county … and they shall be of the PROTESTANT religion.”
CONNECTICUT – fifth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, retained its 1662 Colonial Constitution, which was established PROTESTANT CONGREGATIONAL, till 1818:
“By the Providence of GOD … having from their ancestors derived a free and excellent Constitution … whereby the legislature depends on the free and annual election. … The free fruition of such liberties and privileges as humanity, civility and CHRISTIANITY call for.”
MASSACHUSETTS – sixth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1780 state constitution, written by John Adams:
“Any person … before he … execute the duties of his … office … [shall] subscribe … ‘I … declare, that I believe the CHRISTIAN religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth.’ … The legislature shall … authorize the support and maintenance of public PROTESTANT teachers of piety, religion and morality.”
MARYLAND – seventh to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:
“No other test … ought to be required, on admission to any office … than such oath of support and fidelity to this State … and a declaration of a belief in the CHRISTIAN religion.”
SOUTH CAROLINA – eighth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1778 state constitution:
“No person shall be eligible to a seat … unless he be of the PROTESTANT religion. … The CHRISTIAN PROTESTANT religion shall be deemed … the established religion of this State.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE – ninth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1784 state constitution: “No person shall be capable of being elected … who is not of the PROTESTANT religion.”
VIRGINIA – 10th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution, bill of rights, written by James Madison and George Mason:
“It is the mutual duty of all to practice CHRISTIAN forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
NEW YORK – 11th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1777 state constitution:
“The United American States … declare … ‘Laws of nature and of NATURE’S GOD … All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights … Appealing to the SUPREME JUDGE of the world … A firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE’ …”
NORTH CAROLINA – 12th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:
“No person, who shall deny the being of GOD or the truth of the PROTESTANT religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding … office.”
RHODE ISLAND – 13th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, retained its 1663 Colonial Constitution till 1843, which stated:
“By the blessing of God … a full liberty in religious concernements … rightly grounded upon GOSPEL principles, will give the best and greatest security … in the true CHRISTIAN faith and worship of God. … They may … defend themselves, in their just rights and liberties against all the enemies of the CHRISTIAN faith.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Lafayette Black wrote inEngel v. Vitale, 1962:
“As late as the time of the Revolutionary War, there were established Churches in at least eight of the 13 former colonies and established religions in at least four of the other five.”
John K. Wilson wrote in “Religion Under the State Constitutions 1776-1800″ (Journal of Church and State, Volume 32, Autumn 1990, Number 4, pp. 754):
“An establishment of religion, in terms of direct tax aid to Churches, was the situation in nine of the 13 colonies on the eve of the American revolution.”
The Journal of the U.S. House recorded that on March 27, 1854, the 33rd Congress voted unanimously to print Rep. James Meacham’s report, which stated:
“At the adoption of the Constitution, we believe every State – certainly 10 of the 13 – provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government. …
“Down to the Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form. It was deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld by a free people. …
“Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.”
Over the years, the Christians in these states extended tolerance to other denominations, to Jews, to monotheistic religions, to any religion and eventually to atheists.
Activists judges creatively used the 14th Amendment to remove authority over many issues from state jurisdiction.
Though our government has seemingly abandoned ties to the past, for the student of history, it is still fascinating to find out “whatever we once were.” —
“For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)
The phrase “the new world” as applied to the two American continents is believed to have been coined by the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who claimed to have been the first to sight the actual mainland. This is believed to be the chief reason why “America” was named after him rather than Christopher Columbus, who had “discovered” some of the islands of the West Indies just a few years before. (Actually, some of the Norsemen and possibly others “discovered” this new world several centuries before either one—not to mention the American “Indians” who reached the continent much earlier than any of them.)
Columbus himself has many memorials named after him too, of course. Think of the many cities named Columbus or Columbia, as well as the great Columbia River. Even America itself has been called Columbia in a number of songs and poems.
But was not a “new world” to God! It has been here all along, and we are thankful to be a part of it today.
There is a real new world coming, however! The Old Testament prophet received God’s promise long ago. “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). The New Testament prophet, John, actually described it as seen in a wonderful vision. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” he said, and then described some of its beauties (seeRevelation 21:1).
But the apostle Peter transmitted the most wonderful news of all about this new world when he wrote that “we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). And all of us, who by faith have been made righteous in Christ, shall live there forever! HMM
“Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (James 3:12)
The answer to these rhetorical questions obviously is: “No.” A fig tree cannot become an olive tree in one growing season, or in a million of them. Nor can a grapevine evolve into a fig tree, no matter what happens to it (grafts, mutations, chemicals, radiations, anything).
In the very first chapter of the Bible, each kind of plant God created was given the genetic information by its Maker to “reproduce” only its own “kind” of plant, not to diverge into some other kind, although its offspring could develop into many varieties of the parental kind (but even that only within strict limits). The same was true with the animals. Ten times in Genesis 1, God, in five verses, tells us that each created kind of plant and animal was coded to reproduce just its own kind (Genesis1:11-12, 21, 24-25).
Just in the event that some skeptic might reject Genesis 1 as factual, the same theme is reiterated in the New Testament, not only in our text but in Paul’s great chapter on death and resurrection. “God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds” (1 Corinthians 15:38-39).
This biblical truth is confirmed by every scientific observation ever made on plants and animals—whether living, dead, or fossilized. No one has ever seen a frog evolve into a prince, or a vine into an olive tree, either in the present or in the fossil record of the past. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that man should fear before him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). HMM
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” (Revelation 14:14)
This is the last of some 87 New Testament references (84 in the four gospels, one in Acts, none in the epistles, two in Revelation) to Christ as the Son of man. Here we see the Son of man coming on a white cloud from heaven (just as He had ascended into heaven after His resurrection) as the conquering King of all the earth.
What a contrast is this to the first New Testament reference to the Son of man. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). From humility and poverty on Earth to power and riches in heaven, and for all eternity—this was His journey when Christ left His heavenly glory to join the human family.
In between the poverty and the power lay the whole human experience, for He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Finally, as Son of man He must die for man’s sin, for “the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:7). Even in heaven He is still the Son of man, for Stephen saw Him thus: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).
There is, indeed, a great man in the glory! Christ called Himself “the Son of man” much more often than “the Son of God,” though He will eternally be both, the God/man. He delights to identify with those whom He has redeemed, for He “is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:11). “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” asked Jesus. Then we say, with Peter, “Thou art . . . the Son of the living God” (Matthew16:13, 16). HMM
“Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” (Job 40:3-4)
It is remarkable how the saintliest of men often confess to being the worst of sinners. The patriarch Job was said by God Himself to be “a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8). Yet when Job saw God, he could only say, “Behold, I am vile.”
David, “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1), and “a man after |God’s| own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), said: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). Isaiah, the greatest of the prophets, testified when he came into God’s presence: “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5).
The angel recognized Daniel the prophet as “a man greatly beloved” by God (Daniel 10:11). Yet when Daniel saw God, he fell on his face and said: “My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength” (Daniel 10:8).
In the New Testament, the apostle Peter said: “I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8), and Paul called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy1:15). God dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16).
The closer one comes to the Lord, the more clearly one sees his own sinfulness and the more wonderful becomes God’s amazing grace. No one who is satisfied with his or her own state of holiness has yet come to know the Lord in His state of holiness! None dare face the Lord except by His grace through the mediator Jesus Christ. HMM
U.S. Constitution ratified by States which included Faith in State Constitutions via American Minute
that he would rain down righteousness upon the earth, revive religion, and spread abroad the knowledge of the true God, the Saviour of man.”
When New Hampshire became the 9th State to ratify the U.S. Constitution, JUNE 21, 1788, it officially went into effect.
The 55 writers of the U.S. Constitution were:
26 Episcopalian Christians
11 Presbyterian Christians
7 Congregationalist Christians
2 Lutheran Christians
2 Dutch Reformed Christians
2 Methodist Christians
2 Quaker Christians
2 Roman Catholics
and Dr. Franklin, who called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention, June 28, 1787, stating:
“In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.- Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered.
All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor…
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?…”
“We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’… I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel…
I therefore beg leave to move-that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business.”
The Constitution went into effect June 21, 1788, when 2/3′s of the States ratified it:
DELAWARE – 1st to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 State Constitution:
“Every person…appointed to any office…shall…subscribe…
‘I…profess faith in GOD THE FATHER, and in JESUS CHRIST His only Son, and in the HOLY GHOST, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.’”
PENNSYLVANIA – 2nd to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 State Constitution, signed by Ben Franklin:
“Each member, before he takes his seat, shall…subscribe…
‘I do believe in one GOD, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’”
NEW JERSEY – 3rd to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 State Constitution:
“All persons, professing a belief in the faith of any PROTESTANT sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government…shall be capable of being elected.”
GEORGIA – 4th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1777 State Constitution:
“Representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county…and they shall be of the PROTESTANT religion.”
CONNECTICUT – 5th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, retained its 1662 Colonial Constitution, which was established PROTESTANT CONGREGATIONAL, till 1818:
“By the Providence of GOD…having from their ancestors derived a free and excellent Constitution…whereby the legislature depends on the free and annual election…The free fruition of such liberties and privileges as humanity, civility and CHRISTIANITY call for.”
MASSACHUSETTS – 6th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1780 State Constitution, written by John Adams:
“Any person…before he…execute the duties of his…office…[shall] subscribe…’I…declare, that I believe the CHRISTIAN religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth’…
The legislature shall…authorize the support and maintenance of public PROTESTANT teachers of piety, religion and morality.”
MARYLAND – 7th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 State Constitution:
“No other test…ought to be required, on admission to any office…than such oath of support and fidelity to this State…and a declaration of a belief in the CHRISTIAN religion.”
SOUTH CAROLINA – 8th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1778 State Constitution:
“No person shall be eligible to a seat…unless he be of the PROTESTANT religion…The CHRISTIAN PROTESTANT religion shall be deemed…the established religion of this State.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE – 9th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1784 State Constitution:
“No person shall be capable of being elected…who is not of the PROTESTANT religion.”
VIRGINIA – 10th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 State Constitution, Bill of Rights, written with the help of James Madison and George Mason:
“It is the mutual duty of all to practice CHRISTIAN forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
NEW YORK – 11th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1777 State Constitution:
“The United American States…declare…
‘Laws of nature and of NATURE’S GOD…All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights…Appealing to the SUPREME JUDGE of the world…A firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE’…
People of this State, ordain…the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination…
Provided, That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness.”
NORTH CAROLINA – 12th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 State Constitution:
“No person, who shall deny the being of GOD or the truth of the PROTESTANT religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding…office.”
RHODE ISLAND – 13th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, retained its 1663 Colonial Constitution till 1843, which stated:
“By the blessing of God…a full liberty in religious concernements…rightly grounded upon GOSPEL principles, will give the best and greatest security…in the true CHRISTIAN faith and worship of God…They may…defend themselves, in their just rights and liberties against all the enemies of the CHRISTIAN faith.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Lafayette Black wrote in Engel v. Vitale, 1962:
“As late as the time of the Revolutionary War, there were established Churches in at least 8 of the 13 former colonies and established religions in at least 4 of the other 5.”
John K. Wilson wrote inReligion Under the State Constitutions 1776-1800 (Journal of Church and State, Volume 32, Autumn 1990, Number 4, pp. 754):
“An establishment of religion, in terms of direct tax aid to Churches, was the situation in 9 of the 13 colonies on the eve of the American revolution.”
The Journal of the U.S. Houserecorded that on March 27, 1854, the 33rd Congress voted unanimously to print Rep. James Meacham’s report, which stated:
“At the adoption of the Constitution, we believe every State – certainly 10 of the 13 – provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government…
Down to the Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form. It was deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld by a free people…
Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.”
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible, assuring us that “we” (i.e., all believers, whether dead or living when Christ returns) shall suddenly be changed, with our dead or dying bodies instantly transformed into incorruptible, immortal bodies, which can never die again.
This great change, when it finally occurs, will take place “in a moment.” The Greek here is en atomo, “in an atom of time.” This word, implying the smallest entity conceivable by the Greeks, is used only this one time in the New Testament. It is further described by “the twinkling of an eye,” where “twinkling” is the Greek rhipe, also used only this once. Evidently there is nothing else in this present world comparable in rapidity to this miraculous change which will be called forth when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
The great shout (probably uttered by Christ Himself as at the tomb of Lazarus) will instantly create new bodies for both dead and living believers. “The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Our new bodies will be like Christ’s resurrection body. He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21).
Christ is able thus to create new bodies for us in a moment, just as when He created all things in the beginning: “He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9). HMM
The Institute for Creation Research
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
People give much attention to what material clothes they should put on, but the New Testament tells us what spiritual clothes to put on. First, we are to be “endued with” power from on high. This Greek word (enduo) is normally rendered “put on.” That is, we are to put on power, and this is imparted only by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), according to Christ’s departing promise.
“Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. . . . put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:12, 14). “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).
Along with this, we are to “put off concerning the former conversation the old man,” and then to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22, 24). Then we must “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
These items of spiritual clothing—the power of the Holy Spirit, the light of God’s presence, the new man in Christ, the resurrection life of the indwelling Christ, His imputed righteousness and holiness and all our spiritual armor—provide the foundation clothing for beautiful spiritual jewels and accessories. “Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: . . . Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; . . . And above all these things put on charity |love|” (Colossians 3:9-10, 12, 14). HMM
The Institute for Creation Research
“And hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:3)
Jesus once said, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Poignant question. A familiar complaint of those who despise Christian teaching is that “Christians” don’t act like Christians! It is a sad commentary on the condition of the Lord’s family when the ungodly are more aware of the expected behavior of God’s people than the Christians are.
Of course, the issue is not unique to the New Testament times. Israel’s historical saga is replete with seasons of rebellion and repentance—so much so that the psalmist prayed:
That the generation to come. . . .might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God. (Psalm 78:6-8)
The emphasis by John in his first epistle, however, is not on the reasons for willful disobedience, but on the results of willing obedience.
- Walking in the “light” ensures fellowship (1 John 1:7).
- Constant and willing obedience produces an effective prayer life (1 John 3:22).
- A lifestyle of obedience brings an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (1 John 3:24).
- Loving God produces obedience, which in turn brings joy in that obedience (1 John 5:3).
The Institute for Creation Research
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
According to the New Testament, there are two broad categories of Christian believers, carnal and spiritual—that is, those whose actions and decisions are mainly governed by the “flesh” and those who normally are governed by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Paul noted this fact when he wrote to the bickering Christians in the church at Corinth. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1).
Even though true believers can behave carnally, the fact that they are “babes in Christ” confirms that they are “in Christ.” They just need to grow up, as it were, into spiritual maturity through partaking of both the milk and the meat of the Scriptures. Note 1 Peter 2:2 (“desire the sincere milk of the word”) and Hebrews 5:14 (“strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age”) for the God-given principle of Christian growth.
But our text also has a warning for spiritual Christians! When confronted with the fact of a “fault” (that is, literally, a willful sin) in the life of a Christian brother, we must remember that our own spirituality does not guarantee that we ourselves are immune from sin. We must be careful to help rather than to condemn such a weak brother because we still can “also be tempted,” even though we usually try diligently to obey God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
It is vital, the apostle reminds us, that “ye which are spiritual” maintain a true “spirit of meekness” in our interactions with fellow believers, as well as with the unsaved. HMM
The Institute for Creation Research
“For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.” (2 John 2)
The word “truth” occurs more in the gospel of John than in any other book of the New Testament, and it occurs in the first epistle of John more than in any other book except John’s gospel. Then, it occurs more in John’s two one-chapter epistles (2 and 3 John) than in any other New Testament book save John and 1 John. Surely one of the great themes in John’s writings is truth!
God is, indeed, the God of truth, and His written Word is “the scripture of truth” (Daniel 10:21). “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4). The Lord Jesus Christ is, in fact, the very incarnation of truth. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He asserted (John 14:6).
Surely truth dwells forever in Christ, for He is Himself the Creator and is thereby the very definition of truth. But how can it be that truth dwells in us and shall be with us forever? This is certainly not the case with the natural man.
It can only be by the Holy Spirit, of course, and this is what Christ—who is the truth—has promised. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17).
That being so, with the Holy Spirit of truth indwelling us forever, our words, and deeds, and our very lives should be characterized by truth and complete consistency. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6). HMM
The Institute for Creation Research
He left Yale for four years to fight in the Revolutionary War.
After graduation, he became a lawyer and taught school in New York.
Dissatisfied with the children’s spelling books, he wrote the famousBlue-Backed Speller, which sold over one hundred million copies.
After twenty-six years of work, he published the first American Dictionary of the English Language.
His name was Noah Webster, and he died MAY 28, 1843.
In his 1788 essay, “On the Education of Youth in America,” printed inWebster’s American Magazine, Noah Webster wrote:
“Scripture…may be read in schools, to great advantage. In some countries the common people are not permitted to read the Bible at all. In ours, it is as common as a newspaper and in schools is read with nearly the same degree of respect.”
Noah Webster continued:
“My wish is…to see the Bible…used as a system of religion and morality.”
In his History of the United States, 1832, Noah Webster wrote:
“The brief exposition of the Constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government…
The genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.”
Noah Webster continued in The History of the United States, 1832:
“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
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Our Lord said, I am the Truth, and again He said, The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Truth therefore is not hard to find for the very reason that it is seeking us. Truth is not a thing for which we must search, but a Person to whom we must hearken. This is taught or taken for granted in the record of Gods dealings with men throughout the Sacred Scriptures. After the sin in Eden it was not Adam who cried O God, where art Thou? but God who cried Where art thou? as He sought for Adam among the trees of the Garden. Abraham heard God speak and responded, but it was God who was the aggressor. God appeared unto Jacob before Jacob came to appear before God. And in the burning bush God revealed Himself to Moses. Again and again did God take the initiative. He sought for Gideon and found him on the threshing floor of Ophrah. He showed Himself to Isaiah when there is no evidence that Isaiah was seeking Him. Before Jeremiah was born God laid His hand upon him, and He opened heaven to let the discouraged priest Ezekiel see a vision and hear a voice. Amos said he was not a prophet neither a prophets son, but the Lord took him as he followed the flock. Again God was the aggressor. In the New Testament things are not otherwise. True, multitudes came to Christ for physical help, but only rarely did one seek Him out to learn the truth; and even that rare one usually turned away when the truth was told him. The whole picture in the Gospels is one of a seeking Savior, not one of seeking men. The truth was hunting for those who would receive it, and relatively few did. Many are called, but few are chosen.
John Piper has been sharing a series of short videos on him speaking about the gifts of the Spirit. The first was on tongues. I now want to share what he had to say on prophecy. Here are some excerpts to whet your appetite:
“I have been significantly influenced by Wayne Grudem’s book on prophecy . . .I think our tendency is to despise what the New Testament treats as prophecy . . . Prophecy in the New Testament doesn’t seem to have the same scripture quality, inerrant, inspiration and authority . . . you don’t go up to Isaiah and say I am going to test what you say . . . but you do do that with New Testament prophecy. . . Prophecy in the New Testament seems to be down a notch from prophecy in the old testament and is exposed to testing. . . God brining something to mind that you would not otherwise have thought of in the moment for the sake of upbuilding, encouragement, consolation. . . the way I personally appropriate this for myself . . . I pray as I am sitting there, God grant me a gift of prophecy in this preaching . . . bring to my mind things about yourself, and about this text, and about the truth, and about this people that I will be able to say in such a way that they will pierce with unusual, I might say, prophetic power into their lives. . . it happens very regularly that people say “have you been reading my mail, you looked at me and you said” I didn’t even know that I was looking at you . . . I was preaching on small groups . . .and I looked to my left and said “you might be working on the 34th floor of the IDS tower, maybe you should call people together and have a small group. . . a woman comes up afterwards and said “I work on that floor and I have been praying about whether to start a small group.”
Read the rest:
There are many compelling lessons to be drawn from the Scriptures and one of the clearest is that sinful and rebellious people can never be forced into repentance. The same act that may cause one person to repent and believe will cause others to hate and despise God! The same Bible sermon that brings the person to tearful submission at an altar of prayer will send others out with pride and a resolve to have their own human way. Students of the Scriptures are aware that the Old Testament prophets and the writing apostles of New Testament times foresaw and proclaimed God’s coming day of judgment-the consummate settling of accounts between the Sovereign God and his rebellious and sinful creation. How desperately we would like to believe that in the face of coming judgment, all lost men and women will cry out to God, but such will not be the case: “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent” (Revelation 9:20).
Then Peter said, “Se we have left all and followed You.”
So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
“who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come everlasting life.”
Thursday, October 13, 2011
|Margaret Thatcher was born OCTOBER 13, 1925. She was the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. While traveling through New York City in 1996, Margaret Thatcher had an interview with Joseph A. Cannon, which was printed in Human Events. She stated: “The Decalogue-Ten Commandments-are addressed to each and every person. This is the origin of our common humanity and of the sanctity of the individual. Each one has a duty to try to carry out those commandments. You don’t get that in any other political creed…It is personal liberty with personal responsibility.” Margaret Thatcher continued: “Responsibility to your parents, to your children, to your God. This really binds us together in a way that nothing else does. If you accept freedom, you’ve got to have principles about the responsibility. You can’t do this without a biblical foundation.” Margaret Thatcher concluded regarding America: “Your Founding Fathers came over with that. They came over with the doctrines of the New Testament as well as the Old. They looked after one another, not only as a matter of necessity, but as a matter of duty to their God. There is no other country in the world which started that way.”|
The Son of one of the Boston Tea Party “Indians,” he graduated from Harvard and eventually became Massachusetts Speaker of the House. At age 32, he was appointed the youngest Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served 34 years and helped establish the illegality of the slave trade in the Amistad case. His name was Joseph Story, and he died SEPTEMBER 10, 1845. A founder of Harvard Law School, Justice Joseph Story stated in Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, 1844: “Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” Appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison-the person who introduced the First Amendment, Justice Joseph Story commented on it in his Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1840: “At the time of the adoption…of the Amendment..the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State.” Justice Story continued: “The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”
Enjoy more newsletters like this one at Crosswalk.com.
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