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Recent Posts
The Mute Christian Under The Smarting Rod
by Rick Bates. Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:39 PM
Matthew 12:40
by rstrats. Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:44 PM
"The Sinfulness of Sin" by WTG Shedd
by Pilgrim. Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:32 AM
Total Depravity
by Pilgrim. Sun May 31, 2020 8:26 PM
The Keys Of Death Are In The Savior's Hands
by Rick Bates. Sat May 30, 2020 2:05 PM
Justification And Preaching
by Rick Bates. Mon May 25, 2020 7:33 PM
Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:32 AM "The Sinfulness of Sin" by WTG Shedd [by Pilgrim]
IN the preceding discourse from these words, we discussed that form and aspect of sin which consists in “coming short” of the Divine law, or, as the Westminster Creed states it, in a “want of conformity” unto it. The deep and fundamental sin of the young ruler, we found, lay in what he lacked. When our Lord tested him, he proved to be utterly destitute of love to God. His soul was a complete vacuum, in reference to that great holy affection which fills the hearts of all the good beings before the throne of God, and without which no creature can stand, or will wish to stand, in the Divine presence. The young ruler, though outwardly moral and amiable, when searched in the inward parts was found wanting in the sum and substance of religion. He did not love God; and he did love himself and his possessions.

What man has omitted to do, what man is destitute of;—this is a species of sin which he does not sufficiently consider, and which is weighing him down to perdition. The unregenerate person when pressed to repent of his sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, often beats back the kind effort, by a question like that which Pilate put to the infuriated Jews: “Why, what evil have I done?” It is the subject of his actual and overt transgressions that comes first into his thoughts, and, like the young ruler, he tells his spiritual friend and adviser that he has kept all the commandments from his youth up. The conviction of sin would be more common if the natural man would consider his failures; if he would look into his heart and perceive what he is destitute of; and into his conduct and see what he has left undone.

If there could be one error which is lacking in the vast majority of what is pawned off as preaching and in the myriad counterfeit gospels of our day which could be singled out among many, it would be in my concerted opinion, the truth about sin; not sins, nor about sinning but SIN itself. Shedd understood the depth of sin and in his little lecture, he calls it the "Sinfulness" of sin. There are two similar truths found in Scripture which John Calvin saw as being two sides of one coin; The infinite holiness of God and the unfathomable depth of sin in man. In this world, none of us is capable of comprehending the fullness of these two fundamental truths. And in all honesty, I am not convinced any man ever will, even in his glorified state. But one thing I am sure of is that no sinner will ever come to Christ without the Holy Spirit's work of the conviction of sin, secondly of the holiness of God and the perfect righteousness of Christ and thirdly of the judgment to come because of the lack of the former two (Jh 16:8).

So, take a few moments and read what WTG Shedd learned from God's infallible Word concerning the "Sinfulness of Sin". It is a most valuable little study which can be most instructive, whether for the first time or by renewal.

You can read this month's Article of the Month by clicking hereI: The Sinfulness of Sin.


You can always read it later along with all the archived Articles of the Month by visiting The Highway Website and clicking on the "Article of the Month" logo.

In His service and grace,
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Sat May 30, 2020 6:05 PM The Keys Of Death Are In The Savior's Hands [by Rick Bates]

(James Buchanan, "Comfort in Affliction" 1837)

"Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, the Ever-living One! I died—but see, I am alive forevermore! And I hold the keys of death and Hades (the realm of the dead)." Revelation 1:17-18

When it is affirmed that Jesus holds "the keys of DEATH," it is plainly implied that none can pass out of this present world without His appointment. And, more generally, that He is lord of the living not less than of the dead, and has a thorough control over everything that can in any way affect the lives of men. An absolute power over death, necessarily presupposes a corresponding power over life and its affairs. And it is by the exercise of His providence in sustaining life—that He fulfills His purpose as to the time and mode of their departure hence.

Has the Redeemer the keys of death? Then this should mitigate the anxiety which often preys upon the mind when we look forward into futurity, and contemplate the prospect of our own death. We should remember, that as the Redeemer alone has the keys of death—nothing can happen to send us forth from the world before the time which He has appointed for our departure. Neither man nor devils can abridge the term of probation assigned to us by our gracious Master. Nor, until He is pleased to call us away, shall any power on earth or in Hell prevail against us. The Redeemer is possessed of absolute power over the course of our lives on earth—and over the time and manner of our departure out of the world.

No accident, no hostile violence, no insidious snare, no dark conspiracy—can touch our life—but by His command. And surely, when we reflect on the numerous dangers to which human life is exposed—the frailty of our frame—the diseases to which it is subject—our constant exposure to fatal accidents—the malice of open or concealed enemies—it must be consolatory to know, that the key of Death is in the Savior's hands, and that, come what may, we cannot be forced out of the world, until He opens the door and bids us to come to Him.

More especially, when we are visited with disease, and threatened with a speedy termination of life—the Savior's power over the keys of death should repress or assuage those violent anxieties as to the probability of death or of recovery—and those disquieting speculations as to the outcome of disease, and the mode of its treatment. For disease cannot kill, nor can medicine cure—without the appointment of Him who holds in His own hands the keys of life and of death! And if He has fixed the outcome of this disease—then why should we be anxious?

If death is in our cup—that cup has been put into our hands at the time fixed by unerring wisdom and infinite love! And if the door of death is opening for our departure—it is because the tender Savior, whom we love and trust, is summoning us to be forever with Him!

Shall we, then, rebel against His appointment? Shall we doubt the love and wisdom of His determination? Or, as ignorant as we are of what is before us in this world, and of what really concerns our best interests—can we entertain the wish, that the power of determining the time of our death were wrested out of His hands and placed in our own?

True, we may have many ties that attach us to this world. We may be young, and, with the optimistic hope of youth, may cleave to life. We may be prosperous, and surrounded with many comforts. We may have a young and engaging family, whom we are loath to leave behind us to the cold charities of the world. We may have many dependents on our industry or bounty, who will bitterly lament our loss. But do we imagine that these considerations are not known to the Redeemer, or that He has not weighed them all? And if, notwithstanding, it is His will to summon us home—are we not prepared to yield up our faulty judgment to his unerring wisdom?

The duration of each man's existence on earth is determined by the Redeemer. It belongs to Him to appoint a longer or shorter period to each, as He wills. And in doing so, we have reason to be satisfied, that He determines according to the dictates of His infallible wisdom, although the reasons of His procedure must necessarily be to us, for the present, inscrutable.

We cannot tell why one dies in infancy, another in childhood, a third in the prime of manly vigor, and a fourth reserved to the period of old age. But suffice it for us, that this happens not by chance, neither is it the result of caprice or carelessness—but flows from that unerring wisdom, whose counsels are formed on a view of all possible relations and consequences. The power of death being in the hands of the Redeemer—the duration of human life is, in every instance, determined by Him. And none, therefore, ought to entertain the thought, either that death is, in one case, unduly premature—or, in another, unduly delayed. None live, either for a longer or for a shorter period, than infinite wisdom has assigned to them. Reason teaches, that to His appointment we must submit, however unwilling—it being irresistible, and far beyond our control. So, as Christians, we should learn to acquiesce in it cheerfully, as the appointment of one who cannot err.
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Wed May 27, 2020 1:44 PM Total Depravity [by ATulipNotADaisy]
The WCF chap 6.4 states “From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”

Doesn’t this mean that there is NO good left in man due to the Fall?

However, not all men commit acts that are as bad as they could be.
For example I would not rob a bank, but is this due to:

1. the restraining hand of God
2. my own self-righteousness since I don’t want to go to jail
3. both
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Mon May 25, 2020 11:33 PM Justification And Preaching [by Rick Bates]
Justification and Preaching

The familiar words of Isaiah 40:1-2 call to mind the sonorous strains of Handel’s Messiah: “‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,’ saith your God. ‘Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her … that her iniquity is pardoned.’” They are also suggestive of the preaching task. In fact, the famous hymn writer, John Newton, preached a series of sermons on the texts of the Messiah to his London parish while Handel’s oratorio was being performed across town. Newton was taking up the charge of Isaiah’s God. As Dr. J. I. Packer explains, comfort “in the old, strong, Bible sense of the word” means to strengthen, encourage, and reassure.[1] That is what the doctrine of justification does when preached from the pulpits of our churches. And how we need comfort and reassurance in these perilous times.

Justification is more than the forgiveness of sins. It is God’s verdict, reckoning Christ’s righteousness to our account, that we are innocent and just. Yet, it is summarily, or by synecdoche (the part for the whole), the forgiveness of sins. The Apostle Paul expresses such, in reliance on the sweet Psalmist of Israel: “David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, ‘Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.’” (Rom 4:5-7, cf. Psa 32:1-2) The forgiveness of sins has always been music to the ears.

The Lord Jesus commanded “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47) Christ himself announced his commission “to preach the gospel to the poor … the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) This reference from Isaiah alludes to the recurring year of Jubilee, a release of all debts that typified the remission, or canceling, of the crushing debt of sin.

The Biblical words for “preaching” have the sense of announcing, or heralding – an official proclamation of ambassadors on behalf of a foreign dignitary, or the salutary news of victory from the battlefront. As much as the forgiveness of sins is shorthand for justification, so justification is shorthand for salvation. And Christian preaching, as it should be preaching of the gospel, must substantially involve the preaching of justification.

This does not mean that justification should be the entire content of preaching, or the sole application made from Scripture to the lives of hearers. Contrary to the aspirations cast on the Protestant Reformers by opponents who claimed their teaching would lead to loose living, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (1571) judge it to be “a most wholesome doctrine”. Article 11, Of the Justification of Man, states in full:

We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.[2]

Article 12 goes on to assert that good works “are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification.”[3] Thus it is “a most wholesome doctrine”.

But also one, let it be noted, “very full of comfort.” The reference to “The Homily of Justification” is to one of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s own compositions in the first of two officially authorized books of homilies designed to get the Biblical doctrine of the Reformers into the pulpits of all the churches in the land.[4] Why was Cranmer so bent on everyone hearing the doctrine of justification expounded? For the same reason he placed “the comfortable [i.e., comforting] words” after the General Confession in his office for Holy Communion.[5] For the same reason he thrust his martyr’s hand into the fire of persecution after his temporary disloyalty. Because, the doctrine of justification is “very full of comfort.” May the same fortifying truth ring forth in our churches and in our hearts today.

Steven McCarthy is the rector of Christ Church Anglican (South Bend, IN). He earned an M.Div. at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Pittsburgh, PA), and is a Th.M. student at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids, MI). He and his wife are native Michiganders. They have three young children.

[1] J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1973), 23.

[2] Gerald Bray, The Faith We Confess: An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles (London: The Latimer Trust, 2009), 72.

[3] Ibid., 76.

[4] “A Sermon of the Salvation of Mankind by Only Christ Our Savior from Sin and Death Everlasting in The Two Books of Homilies Appointed to be Read in
Churches, 24-38, edited by John Griffiths (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1859).

[5] “The Comfortable Words” are Matt 11:28, John 3:16, 1 Tim 1:15, and 1 John 2:1.
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Sat May 23, 2020 11:58 PM Jesus ~ Puritan Thomas Adams [by Rick Bates]

Jesus . . .
hides our unrighteousness with His righteousness,
covers our disobedience with His obedience,
shadows our death with His death —
that the wrath of God cannot find us!
0 60 Read More
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