Archive for August, 2016

Scripture begins with a marriage (Adam and Eve), and it ends with a marriage (Christ and his church)—and the former is the trailer for the latter. The joining together of the man and woman is a picture of how heaven and earth will one day be joined together through the union of Jesus and his people.

Source: Sam Allberry, How Celibacy Can Fulfill Your Sexuality August 26, 2016


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McCheyne was away from his congregation in 1839. He wrote back to a congregant who was not doing well. In this letter, he lays out how a pastor should rightly understand himself.

EDINBURGH, March 14, 1839.


But if the trial was needed by my people, it was still more needed by me. None but God knows what an abyss of corruption is in my heart. He knows and covers all in the blood of the Lamb. In faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me.


It is perfectly wonderful that ever God could bless such a ministry. And now, when I go over all the faults of it, it appears almost impossible that I can ever preach again. But then I think again, who can preach so well as a sinner—who is forgiven so much, and daily upheld by the Spirit with such a heart within!


I can truly say that the fruit of my long exile has been, that I am come nearer to God, and long more for perfect holiness, and for the world where the people shall be all righteous. I do long to be free from self, from pride, and ungodliness; and I know where to go, “for all the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus.”

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The Law in Numbers 5concerning a woman falsely accuse of immorality.

Unlike other truth-by-water-ordeal rituals in the Ancient Near East there is nothing intrinsically harmful to the adultery-accused woman in drinking the dust water from the tabernacle floor into which the words of the scroll have been washed.

While condemning the adulteress, the law also protects the righteous vulnerable woman by vindicating her.

An innocent woman falsely accused might endure shame, terror and grueling emotional disturbance.

God’s vindication of the innocent is no marginal matter – and for Israel to ignore her acquittal would be to defy the judge of Israel. The woman’s community would have to acknowledge her innocence. In this ritual God serves as the advocate and arbitrator for a falsely accused woman.

In an honor-shame culture this woman’s exoneration implicit rebuke for the man.

There is a promised blessing of God’s favour that the vindicated woman will bear a child – which will also serve as a sign of her vindication.

The above was informed by Mary Wilson ‘Does the God of the Bible hate women?’ Gospel Coalition Podcast June 17, 2016.

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"Lead us not into temptation"

… God tries in one way, Satan in another. Satan tempts that he may destroy, condemn, confound, cast down, but God, that by proving his own children he may make trial of their sincerity, and establish their strength by exercising it; that he may mortify, purify, and cauterize their flesh, which unless it were forced under this restraint would play the wanton and vaunt itself beyond measure. … To some it seems rough and harsh to ask God not to lead us into temptation, seeing that to tempt us is against his nature, as James so testifies [James 1:13]. But the question has already been partly solved, because our lust is properly the cause of all temptations that vanquish us [James 1:14], and therefore bears the blame. And James means only that it is futile and unjust to transfer to God those vices which we are compelled to impute to ourselves because we know ourselves to be guilty of them. But this does not prevent God, when it seems good to him, from turning us over to Satan, from casting us into a reprobate mind and foul desires, and from leading us into temptations, by a just but often secret judgment. For the cause has often been hidden from men, while it is certain with him. From this we gather it is not an improper expression …

Source: The sixth petition – Calvin’s Institutes, Book 3 Chapter 20 Section 46

Patient perseverance in prayer

Also, let us not tempt God and, wearying him with our depravity, provoke him against ourselves. This is usual with many who covenant with God only under certain conditions, and, as if he were the servant of their own appetites, bind him to laws of their own stipulation. If he does not obey them at once, they become indignant, grumble, protest, murmur, and rage at him. To such, therefore, he often grants in wrath and fury what in mercy he denies to others to whom he is favorable. The children of Israel supply proof of this, for whom it would have been much better not to be heard by the Lord than to swallow his wrath with their meat [Num. 11:18, 33].

Source: Patient perseverance in prayer – Calvin’s Institutes, Book 3 Chapter 20 Section 51

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