To love the Lord Jesus, to cleave to Him with full purpose of heart, to count him as “all our salvation and all our desire,” this is what He requires. This is also what our blessed Savior deserves from each of His redeemed people. If we do not despise worldly trifles, when standing in competition with His will, His presence, and His glory, then He shall regard us as denying Him, and we must expect to be denied by Him in the judgment day!
Worldliness is the besetting sin of most professing Christians! It is certain that very many of them are as eager in the pursuit of wealth as the heathen. This accounts for the little influence of the Word of God upon them. The seed is good, but the soil is bad! And the noxious weeds of worldliness, by their speedy and incessant growth, keep down the feebler plants of piety in the soul.
“The cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust for other things, choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Mark 4:19
But please note that it is not the overt act of covetousness or creature-dependence that is condemned, but the inward disposition of the mind and heart. The supreme delight of mind that arises from the possession of wealth, is itself a denial of the sufficiency of Christ to be our desired portion and treasure.
O, brethren, enter into your own bosoms, and judge yourselves in relation to this matter. Inquire whether Christ has such a full possession of your hearts, as to render all earthly things relatively vain, empty, and worthless, in your estimation. If not, then how can you call Christ your desired portion, or imagine that you have formed a proper estimate of the immeasurable blessings of salvation? Know assuredly, that if you have proper views of Christ, you will regard Him as your Pearl of Great Price!
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By Al Taglieri — 1 year ago
I noticed you feel great compassion for women in crisis. While this is commendable, I am concerned by the lack of similar concern for babies. You mentioned a woman’s right to abortion eight times and a child’s right to life once. And that your prescription for limiting the number of abortions is based on government welfare programs for the mother. I did not see any provisions for making adoption easier and faster. Nor did I see any provisions for the church to provide more support through pregnancy centers.
I read your article “As a Christian, I Want to Reduce Abortion, Not Overturn Roe.” I noticed you used the phrase “As a Christian” three times to buttress your moral authority in this area as you pled for both abortion availability and yet fewer abortions. As a brother in Christ, I have concerns over unbalanced compassion, exegetical acumen, and a surrendering of God’s Law to modern culture.
I noticed you feel great compassion for women in crisis. While this is commendable, I am concerned by the lack of similar concern for babies. You mentioned a woman’s right to abortion eight times and a child’s right to life once. And that your prescription for limiting the number of abortions is based on government welfare programs for the mother. I did not see any provisions for making adoption easier and faster. Nor did I see any provisions for the church to provide more support through pregnancy centers. It’s almost as if supporting government welfare policies is a key component of a compassionate character.
God has made each person as a free, moral being. Joshua commanded the people to make a choice about who they would serve: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Jos 24:15, NASB-95).
Each of us makes choices, Adam. Unfortunately, those choices often end with tragedy for ourselves and others. The Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 17 asks:
Q. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
You pointed out cases of rape and incest. These are terrible tragedies brought about by sin that cause great misery, but why is the most innocent victim, the child, the one who bears the brunt of the tragedy? Abortion advocates often claim that every child should be a wanted child. So, is it compassionate to impose the death penalty on a child because the mom chooses not to love? We are told a child should not suffer from poverty. But that’s how we choose to treat suffering animals; we put them out of their misery because they cannot understand what is happening. Not so human beings. And God’s Word affirms that babies, even in the womb, are people:
“Surely I was sinful at birth,sinful from the time my mother conceived me.6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;you taught me wisdom in that secret place.” (Psalm 51, NASB-95)
People can choose to learn from suffering and can choose to rise above it, given the opportunity, unless that opportunity is pre-empted by another’s choice. Consider the story of Lazarus; a poor beggar covered in sores. He had a terrible life, and no one looked at him with compassion. In the end, for all eternity, Lazarus found compassion and comfort (Luke 16: 19-31).
I commend you on the compassion you have toward women in crisis but I implore you to extend that same compassion to the babies in the womb.
As a brother in Christ, I was glad to see that you are meditating on Rom 12:12, and I hope you continue to mediate on this verse. By applying proper exegetical methods, you will discover that the word conformed in Greek is suschématizó and means to assume “a similar outward form (expression) by following the same pattern” (Strong’s). The word transform in the Greek is metamorphoó, which means “changing form in keeping with inner reality” (Strong’s). Paul is calling on each of not to copy the current godless culture, but to be transformed, truly, from the inside by God’s Word (properly interpreted). So, respectfully, I disagree with your conclusion that this is a call to be counter cultural. This is a call to be a genuine Christian, one who knows and lives by God’s law, regardless of the personal cost that might entail.
I found it ironic that you used Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees to make a point that by placing the health of babies in the womb in extreme jeopardy, i.e., death, we can avoid policies that place expecting mom’s health in jeopardy. A closer look at Luke 13:10-17 reveals that the Pharisees are hypocrites because they exult in manmade standards of righteousness that even they cannot keep. Has not support for abortion become the same litmus test for a righteous character in secular society?
As a brother in Christ, I plead with you to consider God’s law as opposed to man’s law. In Psalm 19, God tells us He has given us supernatural revelation:
“The law of the Lord is perfect,refreshing the soul.The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,making wise the simple.8 The precepts of the Lord are right,giving joy to the heart.The commands of the Lord are radiant,giving light to the eyes.” (NASB-95)
The more a society’s laws reflect God’s laws, the better, kinder, more compassionate that society is. I wonder if you ever researched how Greek and Roman cultures practiced their respective laws? There was a marked difference in culture as Christianity grew in influence and the moral authority of God’s Word was practiced. Here’s how Aristotle framed it:
“As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared; but on the ground of number of children, if the regular customs hinder any of those born being exposed, there must be a limit fixed to the procreation of offspring, and if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it (the child)” (Aristotle, Politics 7.1335b ).
Or Cicero: “Deformed infants shall be killed” (On the Laws, 3.8). Cicero considered an unwanted child to be deformed.
God gave Moses this commandment: “You shall not murder” (Ex 20:13, NASB). I’d rather live in a society that respects life, protects its most vulnerable members, and has laws that reflect those values.
Al Taglieri is a Ruling Elder in the Providence Presbyterian Church in York, Penn.
By T. M. Suffield — 7 months ago
Written by T. M. Suffield |
Saturday, February 25, 2023
The great writer on joy and longing, C. S. Lewis, tells us in a famous passage from The Weight of Glory that we are far too easily pleased. We do not know what the Lord is offering us, what joy is available to us in God. Lewis argued, especially in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, that we find our way to joy by longing. He liked to describe it with the German word sehnsucht, a sort of yearning for a joy we don’t yet know, a nostalgia for a place we haven’t been.
Have you ever felt like there was more to life than this? Known some sense of longing for the future?
Perhaps you’ve enjoyed a great steak done exactly how you like it, or a really well poured beer, or the absolute delight of seeing your team triumphant in your favourite sport (Curling, in the Suffield household). The memory of that enjoyment is delightful, and yet it isn’t the same as the actual pleasure you experienced. The pleasure doesn’t last, it’s fleeting. Maybe that makes you lift your head and wonder—and long—for a day when delight lasts.
Or perhaps you’ve wondered if everything should be more intense than it is? I’m profoundly colourblind. Apparently, I only see in a spectrum of grey and brown, though my experience is wonderfully vibrant. I’m told that the world is much more intense than I know, though have no way of accessing that level of reality. Maybe something one day shook you and made you wonder if there are colours that only the angels can see. I’m pretty sure there are. Maybe that makes you lift your head and wonder—and long—for a day when the browns are bright, burned, blue.
The great writer on joy and longing, C. S. Lewis, tells us in a famous passage from The Weight of Glory that we are far too easily pleased. We do not know what the Lord is offering us, what joy is available to us in God.
Lewis argued, especially in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, that we find our way to joy by longing.
By Peter Krol — 2 years ago
Reading your Bible saturates your mind and heart in the love of God for you, which will motivate you to even greater obedience in the future. Though you may not get a nugget of practical application right now, the good news will inflame your desire for such obedience in perpetuity.
I believe in practical application. Here are more than ten biblical reasons why you should do it. But the dangers are legion if you come to your Bible reading with nothing but practical application on your mind. You might rush—or even worse, skip!—your observation or interpretation for the sake of that practical nugget. Your application might come unmoored from the text and take you in exactly the wrong direction. You might fall into the well-worn path of failing to identify any applications beyond the Big Three.
And there is a major opportunity cost involved. Treat personal application as the only consistent outcome for your Bible reading, and you may simply miss out on these other benefits the Lord wishes for you.
1. Storing Up Now for the Coming Winter
A regular habit of Bible reading is worth maintaining, even when no urgent or timely application comes readily to mind, because you are depositing divine truth in the storehouses of your soul from which you can later make withdrawals. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). “My son, keep your father’s commandments … bind them on your heart always … When you walk, they will lead you … For the commandment is a lamp … to preserve you from the evil woman, from the the smooth tongue of the adulteress” (Prov 6:20-24).
We ought to consider the ant and be wise (Prov 6:6-11, 30:24-25), not only with respect to our work ethic but also with respect to our truth ethic. It is foolish to abstain from Bible reading because it’s not practical enough for today. When the time of temptation arrives, you will have an empty storehouse—an empty heart—with no stockpile of resources available to supply your resistance.
2. Receiving Comfort Amid Sorrow
It is true that suffering people need time and space to process. Yet may it never be that our “time and space” isolate us from the Lord, when they ought to bind us more tightly to him. The laments of the Bible are wonderful for giving us words when we don’t know what to say, and feelings when we don’t know what to feel. The Spirit who intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Rom 8:26) is the same Spirit who inspired the words of the prophets and apostles to give expression to such groanings (1 Pet 1:10-12).