Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Lust is a wicked thing

Jonathan Owen writes in the mortification of sin that “there are many ways through which sin diverts the mind from correctly understanding its guilt. Its foul vapors darken the mind so that its judgment is distorted.”

In this context Owen was talking about lust and he then goes on to use an example from scripture that speaks on sexual lust. He says,

“Solomon speaks of someone enticed by a lewd woman. He says he was “among the foolish ones;” he was “a young man without understanding.” And what was his folly about? “As a bird to the snare, he did not know his life was at stake.” 

Owen then goes on to talk about David. 

“The only way David could have remained ignorant for so long about the true extent of his atrocious sin, was “because his was corrupted time and again. It hindered him from taking a clear view of its ugliness and guilt in the mirror of the law. This made it necessary to send the prophet to awaken him. He silenced all the subterfuges and pretenses by his parable, so that David might completely grasp the guilt of what he had done. Treasoninghis is the proper consequence of lust in the heart. It darkens the mind so that it cannot rightly judge its guilt. There are many other ways in which it extenuates itself that I will not go into.”

Lust is a wicked thing. We ought to forsake it in its every form and kill it entirely. How sad that many men have forsaken their dreams for Christ because of lust. They were enticed to go into the immoral house when they should have kept their feet on the narrow road. And after coming out of the immoral house, they are weighed down with guilt in the deepness of their soul that they can no longer go all out for Christ because of their shame. And though they know that they are forgiven, yet in truth they have never forgiven themselves, so they settle for a safe Christianity and rather than lose it all for Christ as they once dreamt, they secure themselves in the comfort of their jobs and secular pursuit. 

The parts in quotation is from Mortification of Sin by John Owen.


Monday, 23 December 2019

Miscellanies 125: I will fight for joy

What makes me happy the most in this world is when I am walking in the light of life, that is walking in step with the Holy Spirit, it is walking as I am called to walk in Jesus. It is fixing my gaze upon the Son of God and obeying the will of His Father. It is me constantly thinking about Him and being unashamed of His gospel and of His ways. It is being not sorry about bringing Him into every conversation as wisdom sees fit. May I walk in wisdom towards outsiders. Yet I feel so sad, and I know why I do, it is because I have neglected Him and walked according to the lust of my mind. O foolish man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death, for it really is a body of death. It seems that I curse myself, that in every victory gained I take two steps back. And I have been unwise to the temptations of the devil. Every time I walk in holiness, I see the evil one's hand bringing temptation to my face, and being complacent I do not fight it vigorously, and then I soon find myself in deep misery. But I will fight for joy! I will be the kindest and sweetest, and meekest, and humblest person. I will aim to live according to my calling and will forsake the standards of the world. Help me dear Lord, and please visit me with the sweet kiss of forgiveness for I have gravely sinned against you! Let this Christmas produce a deep transformation, a deep turn around, that next year I produce fruit worthy of your kingdom. Allow me, dear Lord, to be a writer and a theologian, to convey the truth of your love and holiness to this generation. That my voice may be of the prophets of old, and if you see this as not being worthy of me, then please use me in as little or as big your wisdom sees fit. I trust in your judgments. But in all this, let me have the sweet joy which you give to your servants. I will not recant nor repent of my service towards you.


Sunday, 22 December 2019

Miscellanies 124: She was looking for a good guy

She was looking for a good guy, I said to her to go to church. She replied, what about you? I replied I’m the worst of all. I am the chief of sinners, I’ll end up breaking both of our hearts. It will be wise if you pass me by and go to church to find a better man than me. She replied, then you will come to church with me. I laughed and admired her persistence.


Miscellanies 123

In all of my experiences, God has never failed me. Even in the darkness of my pain, which He himself ordained, He has always comforted me. Sweet sweet Christ, how deep His father's love for me.


Lasting Forgiveness for the Members of the Church!

Lasting Forgiveness for the Members of the Church!


Lasting forgiveness for the members of the church!
Not only does the Lord through forgiveness of sins receive and adopt us once for all into the church, but through the same means he preserves and protects us there. For what would be the point of providing a pardon for us that was destined to be of no use? Every godly man is his own witness that the Lord's mercy, if it were granted only once, would be void and illusory, since each is quite aware throughout his life of the many infirmities that need God's mercy. And clearly not in vain does God promise this grace especially to those of his own household; not in vain does he order the same message of reconciliation daily to be brought to them.30x So, carrying, as we do, the traces of sin around with us throughout life, unless we are sustained by the Lord's constant grace in forgiving our sins, we shall scarcely abide one moment in the church. But the Lord has called his children to eternal salvation. Therefore, they ought to ponder that there is pardon ever ready for their sins. b(a)Consequently, we must firmly believe that by God's generosity, mediated by Christ's merit, through the sanctification of the Spirit, sins have been and are daily pardoned to us who have been received and engrafted into the body of the church.
22. The power of the keys
To impart to us this benefit, the keys of the church have been given. When Christ gave the command to the apostles and conferred upon them the power to forgive sins [Matt. 16:19; 18:18; John 20:23], he did not so much desire that the apostles absolve from sins those who might be converted from ungodliness to the faith of Christ, as that they should perpetually discharge this office among believers. Paul teaches this when he writes that the mission of reconciliation has been entrusted to the ministers of the church and that by it they are repeatedly to exhort the people to be reconciled to God in Christ's name [2 Cor. 5:18, 20]. Therefore, in the communion of saints, our sins are continually forgiven us by the ministry of the church itself when the presbyters or bishops to whom this office has been committed strengthen godly consciences by the gospel promises in the hope of pardon and forgiveness. This they do both publicly and privately as need requires. For very many, on account of their weakness, need personal consolation. And Paul mentions that not only in public preaching, but from house to house as well, he has attested his faith in Christ, and has individually admonished each man concerning the doctrine of salvation [Acts 20:20–21].
We should accordingly note three things here. First, however great the holiness in which God's children excel, they still—so long as they dwell in mortal bodies—remain unable to stand before God without forgiveness of sins. Secondly, this benefit so belongs to the church that we cannot enjoy it unless we abide in communion with the church. Thirdly, it is dispensed to us through the ministers and pastors of the church, either by the preaching of the gospel or by the administration of the sacraments; and herein chiefly stands out the power of the keys, which the Lord has conferred upon the society of believers. Accordingly, let each one of us count it his own duty to seek forgiveness of sins only where the Lord has placed it. Public reconciliation, which has to do with discipline, will be discussed in its place.
(Incidents illustrating forgiveness within the community of believers, 23–29)
23. All believers are to seek forgiveness of their sins
But since those delirious spirits of whom I have spoken are trying to snatch away from the church the sole anchor of salvation, we must fortify our consciences more strongly against such a pestilential opinion. Once the Novatianists stirred up the churches with this teaching,32 but our own age has certain Anabaptists (not very different from the Novatianists) who are lapsing into the same madness. For they feign that in baptism God's people are reborn into a pure and angelic life, unsullied by any carnal filth. But if after baptism anyone falls away, they leave him nothing but God's inexorable judgment. In short, to the sinner who has lapsed after he has received grace they hold out no hope of pardon. For they recognize no other forgiveness of sins than that by which they were first reborn.
Although no falsehood is more clearly refuted by Scripture, because these fellows find persons on whom to impose it (just as once Novatus had very many followers), let us briefly show how madly intent they are upon their own and others' destruction.
First, since at the Lord's command the saints daily repeat this prayer, "Forgive us our debts" [Matt. 6:12], they doubtless confess themselves debtors. And their petition is not in vain, for the Lord has laid down that they are to seek only what he will give them. Indeed, although the Father attests that he will hear every prayer, this absolution he has sealed with a special promise. What more do we wish? The Lord requires the saints to confess their sins—and that indeed continually throughout life; and he promises pardon. What boldness is it either to exempt them from sin, or, if they have stumbled, utterly to exclude them from grace? Whom, now, would he have us forgive seventy times seven? Is it not our brethren [Matt. 18:21–22]? For what purpose did he command this except that we should emulate his kindness? He therefore forgives not once or twice, but as often as men, stricken with the awareness of their transgressions, cry out to him.
24. God's abundant grace to sinful believers under the Old Covenant: the Law*
To begin with the very swaddling clothes of the church: the patriarchs had been circumcised, chosen to participate in the covenant, doubtless taught righteousness and integrity by their fathers' diligence—when they conspired to murder their brother [Gen. 37:18]. Here was a crime that even the most depraved thieves should have loathed. Softened at last by Judah's advice, they sold him [Gen. 37:28]; but this too was an unbearable cruelty. Simeon and Levi, illicitly avenging [their sister's defilement], an act condemned also by their father's judgment, raged against the Shechemites [Gen. 34:25]. Reuben fouled his father's bed with vilest lust [Gen. 35:22]. Judah, wanting to indulge in fornication, beyond the law of nature goes in to his son's wife [Gen. 38:16]. Yet far from being banished from the chosen people, these men were raised up as heads!
What about David? When he was chief administrator of justice, how wickedly did he open the way for his blind lust by the shedding of innocent blood [2 Sam. 11:4, 15]! He had already been reborn, and among the reborn was adorned with the Lord's excellent praises. Still, he committed that crime (horrible even among the Gentiles) and yet received pardon [2 Sam. 12:13].
And (not to tarry over individual examples) as often as promises of divine mercy are manifested in the Law and the Prophets toward the Israelites, so often does the Lord prove that he shows himself willing to forgive the offenses of his people! For what does Moses promise will take place when the people fallen into apostasy shall return to the Lord? "The Lord will lead you back from captivity, and will take pity on you, and will gather you from the people among whom you are scattered. If you were scattered to the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I shall gather you." [Deut. 30:3–4, cf. Vg.]
25. God's abundant grace to sinful believers under the Old Covenant: the Prophets†
But I do not want to begin a never-ending enumeration. For the prophets are full of promises of this kind, which offer mercy to a people though they be covered with infinite crimes. What graver iniquity is there than rebellion? For it is called divorce between God and the church; yet it is outstripped by God's goodness. "What man is there" (he says through Jeremiah) "who, if his wife prostitute her body to adulterers, can bear to return to her embrace? By your fornications all your ways are polluted, O Judah; the earth has been filled with your filthy loves. Return yet to me and I will receive you" [Jer. 3:1 p., cf. Vg.]. "Return, you who turn away, I shall not avert my face from you, for I am holy, and I will not be angry forever" [Jer. 3:12, Vg.]. Surely, there can be no other feeling in him who affirms that he does not desire the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live [Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33:11]. Accordingly, when Solomon dedicated the Temple, he intended it also to be used so that thereby the prayers offered to obtain pardon of sins might be answered. "If thy children," he said, "sin against thee—for there is no man who does not sin—and thou in anger deliverest them to their enemies … and they repent in their hearts … and turn again and make supplication unto thee in their captivity, saying, 'We have sinned and acted perversely,' and pray to thee toward their land, which thou gavest to their fathers, … and toward this holy Temple, … thou wilt hear their prayers … in heaven … and be appeased unto thy people who have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions that they have committed against thee" [1 Kings 8:46–50 p., cf. Vg.]. And not in vain has the Lord ordained in the law daily sacrifices for sins [Num. 28:3 ff.]. For if the Lord had not foreseen that his people would be continually burdened with diseases of sins, he would never have established this remedy.
26. God's abundant grace to sinful believers under the New Covenant†
Has this benefit been so taken away from believers by Christ's coming, in which the fullness of grace was revealed, in order that they dare not pray for pardon of sins and, if they have offended the Lord, that they may obtain no mercy? What else will this be but to say that Christ has come for the destruction, not the salvation, of his people, if God's kindness, which in the Old Testament had been unfailingly ready for the saints for the forgiveness of sins, is now said to be completely taken away? But if we have faith in the Scriptures—which expressly proclaim that in Christ the grace and gentleness of the Lord have fully appeared, the riches of his mercy have been poured out [Titus 1:9; 3:4; 2 Tim. 1:9], and the reconciliation of God and men fulfilled [2 Cor. 5:18 ff.]—let us not doubt that the Heavenly Father's clemency flows forth to us much more abundantly, rather than that it is cut off or curtailed.
And proofs of this are not lacking. Peter, who had heard that anyone not confessing Christ's name among men would be denied in the presence of the angels of God [Matt. 10:33; Mark 8:38], denied him thrice one night and not without cursing [Matt. 26:74]; yet he was not deprived of pardon [Luke 22:32; John 21:15 ff.]. Those who lived disorderly among the Thessalonians are chastised in such a way as to be invited to repentance [cf. 2 Thess. 3:14–15; also ch. 3:6]. Not even Simon the Magician is cast into despair, but is rather bidden to have good hope, when Peter urges him to take refuge in prayer [Acts 8:22].
27. God's abundant grace toward delinquent churches†
What of the fact that, while the most heinous sins have sometimes possessed entire churches, Paul has nevertheless gently freed them from these, rather than cursed their leaders? The defection of the Galatians was no slight transgression [Gal. 1:6; 3:1; 4:9]. The Corinthians were less excusable than they, for they abounded in more and not less heinous misdeeds. Still, neither were barred from the Lord's mercy. Indeed, the very ones who, in uncleanness, fornication, and licentiousness, had sinned more than the others are expressly invited to repentance [2 Cor. 12:21]. For the Lord's covenant remains, and shall remain forever inviolable, which he solemnly ratified with Christ, the true Solomon, and his members in these words: "If his children forsake my law and walk not in my judgments, if they profane my righteousnesses … and keep not my commandments, … I will visit their transgressions with the rod, their iniquities with stripes. But my mercy will I not utterly take from him" [Ps. 89:30–33, RV, cf. Vg.]. Finally, by the very order of the Creed we are taught that continual grace for sins remains in Christ's church. For once the church has, so to speak, been established, forgiveness of sins is added to it.
28. Are only unconscious sins forgivable?
Certain men, somewhat more prudent, when they see the teachings of Novatus refuted by the great clarity of Scripture, do not deem every sin unpardonable, but only voluntary transgression of the law, into which one knowingly and willingly falls.35 Now those who speak thus allow pardon for no sin, except one that is an error of ignorance. But in the law the Lord commanded one sort of sacrifice to be offered to atone for the voluntary sins of believers [Lev. 6:1 ff.], another sort to redeem their acts of ignorance [Lev., ch. 4]. Consequently, what depravity it is not to grant any expiation for voluntary sin! I say that nothing is more apparent than that Christ's sacrifice is alone sufficient to forgive the voluntary sins of the saints inasmuch as the Lord has attested this by carnal sacrifices as seals.
Again, who can excuse David on grounds of ignorance when he clearly was so well versed in the law? Did not David, who daily punished adultery and murder in his subjects, know what great crimes they were [2 Sam., ch. 11]? Did murder of a brother seem a lawful thing to the patriarchs [Gen. 37:18 ff.]? Had the Corinthians profited so ill as to think lust, impurity, fornication, hatreds, and contentions pleasing to God [1 Cor., ch. 5]? Did Peter, so carefully warned, not know what an enormity it was to renounce his Master [Matt. 26:74]? Therefore, let us not by our unkindness bar the way to God's mercy, which manifests itself so generously.
29. The question of "second repentance" in the ancient church
Indeed, I am aware that the ancient writers interpreted the sins which are daily remitted to believers as rather slight errors, creeping in from weakness of the flesh; the solemn penitence then exacted for more heinous crimes, it seemed to them, should no more be repeated than baptism.36 We must not interpret this opinion to mean that they wished either to cast into despair those who have fallen away from their first repentance, or to make light those other errors as if they were small in God's sight. For the church fathers well knew that the saints often totter in unbelief, sometimes give vent to superfluous oaths, now and then flare into anger, indeed, even break out into open railing, and besides are troubled with other ills that the Lord thoroughly abominates. But these writers called them "slight errors" in order to distinguish them from public crimes, which with great scandal came under the church's cognizance. Moreover, they made pardon very difficult for those who had committed anything deserving churchly correction. This they did, not because they considered pardon for their sins hard to obtain before the Lord; rather, with this severity they intended to deter others from rashly plunging into iniquities that would merit their being cut off from the communion of the church. Albeit the Lord's Word, which here ought to be our sole rule, surely prescribes a greater moderation. For it teaches that disciplinary rigor is not to be pushed so far that that man for whom it ought to be chiefly concerned becomes overwhelmed with sorrow [2 Cor. 2:7]. This we have discussed more fully above.
Source: Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin 

Saturday, 21 December 2019

The writings of Sunny Caane

Dear Sunny 

It seems that indeed I loved her not too much for I have forgotten her name and the woes which her name initially brought me. I am free indeed and upon reflection, her cut was not so deep, nor did it linger very much in my heart as to cause me a great deal of heartache. 

She was indeed like all other fancies that I had but not as strong as the first. That one cut me the deepest although there were similarities in the feelings felt. I wonder who I would love now, who indeed I would fancy next. There is none at present, none at least in my current vicinity that draws my heart, none at all! She was the only worthy flower and she found an oak tree whom perhaps God has planted for her. I wish them both a happy ending, that perhaps it will end in marital bliss and both would go on together past their 90s if it pleases the Lord. 

In fact, I feel no shame from it, for her beauty has waned a great deal in my eyes and she was not as pretty as I thought. She was indeed a mere middle. A pretty face but her figure not as gleaning to my eyes and I'm not as drawn in to immediately want to embrace her. In the end, she was an average flower, a common leaf that grows in the vast forest.

Is all this from hate, from the rejection? Truly my soul has moved on. I am no longer bound to her. It was indeed in the end an easy thing. But suppose she was to come to me and say that her moment of madness has passed and her senses have returned to her, and that she had always loved me. Would I then see her as I did before in all loveliness? I would hope so because if I did not then I would only use her and in the end despise her for clinging to me. She would be a hindrance rather than a delight.

I will come to you soon Sunny.


Sunday, 15 December 2019

Miscellanies 122:I hate sinning against other people

 I hate sinning against other people, but I do. One of the reasons why I hate this is because I don’t want to hurt anyone and perhaps deeper than this is that inside I think I am better than I am. I feel that I am so good that I shouldn’t be able to hurt anyone. But this is not true, because I too am a sinner and one of the consequences of being a sinner is that we sin even though we have the new nature as Christians. As John rightly says, that if we say that we have no sin then we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

I find it easier to forgive others than to forgive myself. I am always thinking that God has forgiven the inexcusable in me, so what others do to me I can easily forgive. But when I sin against others, I am mortified and find it hard to cope that I have done such an awful thing. My heart becomes sad and rather than just going to the person immediately, I weep internally for days. But I must forgive myself because God has forgiven me, and I must seek forgiveness from the ones I have sinned against. One of the consequences of not forgiven yourself is that it will damage your relationship with God in a practical way. Prayer becomes harder, loving others becomes harder, going to church and praising becomes harder. I must always sit under the shade of humility.  


Saturday, 14 December 2019

How sweet this season

How sweet this season
That the Lord taught me humility
With deep pain to gain a stronger faith
To sling me back into a community
To pursue without fear though it is lost
Bruised, to be weak, to share my heart
To open my soul, things I had eschewed
This season, He showed me the value of friendship.
And that I am still capable of loving someone.


Dedicated to excellence

I ought to be dedicated to excellence, that everything I do is done to the best of my ability. We ought to give all to God and do all as if ...