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Monday, August 15, 2016

Facinating Quote from James White

Though it may seem surprising to some, in many aspects the Christian scholar of today is “closer” to the original writings of the apostles than people who lived as little as two centuries later. Why? For one thing, we not only have ready access to the entire Bible but also many of the secular writings of the day that give us important historical, cultural, and/ or linguistic information. We have the Bible available to us in the original tongues as well as in many excellent translations. We also have access to a vast amount of writing from generations between then and now; we can read the works of men like Spurgeon, Warfield, Hodge, and Machen, and can glean insights unavailable to many over the centuries. While a person living in the sixth century might have been chronologically nearer to the time of Paul, he would not have had nearly as much opportunity to study the Pauline writings as we have today. We can include in our studies the historical backgrounds of the cities to which Paul was writing; we can read his letters in their original language. These days we can sit at a computer and ask it to provide us with all the aorist passive participles in his letter to the Romans. These considerations allow us to be far more biblical in our teaching and doctrine than the person who had to live his life in hiding due to persecution, resulting in limited access to the Scriptures and also to those able to teach him.

 – James White, Scripture Alone: Exploring the Bible's Accuracy, Authority and Authenticity Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

What an encouragement to pick up our Bibles!

Reflection on Marriage

God created marriage with the purpose of displaying His glory and His gospel.  God is displayed as a single-minded pursuer, a single-minded covenant maker, and a single-minded vow keeper.  Even from the beginning, God has always been the pursuer.  Adam in the garden, Noah and his family before the flood and afterward in a drunken stupor, Abraham in his sojourning, the people of God in the desert.  In fact, of the people of God, God speaks through Amos that He “knew” them more than all the nations of the earth.  Even in the New Testament we see the Father lovingly pursuing a particular people for His glory.  Even before creation, Ephesians 1 tells us, God has had His eye on His bride.

Even when Jesus comes on the scene, we see God as a single-minded covenant maker.  Jesus himself spoke of the “ones the Father gave Him” saying, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”  The Father had given Jesus a particular job- redeem the Bride.  He did not waver from this mission, in John 17 we see Jesus praying, on the night before His death “not for the world, but for those given to Him out of the world.”  He said that He had sanctified Himself for that particular people, and His mission would be accomplished. At the last supper He said His blood would make a covenant with His disciples.  As Landon’s wedding ring will adorn the finger of Megan- and Megan alone- so Christ, the wedding ring of redemption, has been placed on the finger of God’s People.  For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.  He paid the debt due sinners, he rose again, all to win His bride to Himself.

God’s pursuit and His promise will not be in vein.  Just as Landon will stand up and seal his vows to Megan, so the Holy Spirit comes and does that in the life of believers, through the vows of His promises.  The Spirit seeks, the Spirit seals, the Spirit secures.  God keeps His vow to His particular people.  He woos and wins His Bride gladly to Himself.  We love because God first loved us.
Now, there are 5 possible applications I feel need to be emphasized from this. 

First, just as God loves His Bride and does not wavor or look to any other, so a man must do in marriage.  “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church…” we are told.  Just as God has seen all that we are, and all that we will be, but has sought us, bought us, and secured us in His unwavering love.  God’s eyes do not wander, so we must be reminded as ours are tempted to.  God humbled Himself to win His woman, may Landon (and all of us men) follow suit.
Second, God pursued imperfect people, with the purpose of perfecting them.  Ephesians 5 tells us that the purpose of marriage is sanctification.  You are a sinner marrying another sinner- just as your perfection is a process- show grace toward one another.

Third, God’s bride is called to submit to her Bridegroom.  We do this happily for such a bridegroom as ours!  The point of John 2, the Wedding at Cana, is not to tell us that Jesus liked to party (though He did), but to show that He supplies what the other bridegroom failed to.  Megan, Landon is an imperfect bridegroom, but hallelujah our eternal bridegroom is not!

Fourth, recognized the assurance of being both fully known and yet fully loved.  Tim Keller wonderfully said, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”  Find comfort in the single-mindedness is our pursuer, covenant maker, and vow keeper.

Fifth, let this ignite us each to mission, both in our marriages and our singleness.  May our passion be single-minded, just as God’s!  May we recognize that our mission is won, our hope is secure, may we rise up on mission and proclaim the gospel of grace to our families, neighbors, classmates, and to the nations.  God has won a Bride for Himself out of all the nations- may we go with confidence knowing He has promised for us to be means of accomplishing this mission.  Paul knew this assurance.  In Acts 18 as He was discouraged from preaching to the Corinthians, we read, “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”  May give ourselves to this single-minded cause: for the glory of our God.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Truth in Love: A Study of 2 John (Part 4)

We must love in truth because deception abounds.  This is the message John was wanting to deposit to this local church, and one which through the ages remains essential to the people of God.  This balance is something that evangelicalism struggles to strike.  Some value truth, but do so with cold hearts (think of the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2).  Others love, with a loosey-goosey grip on the central truths of the gospel.  Once one is lost, so is the other.

John had just finished warning the church to watch out for false teaching, and continues in this vain. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.  Obviously new teachings had entered into these churches.  Christianity has never been about adapting to the new or to fads.  He calls them back to Christ's teaching.  Teaching that has authority.  To reject these teachings was to reject God himself.

These teaches may have started out as orthodox, but one of things we see in the ministry of the apostles, if we look, is that many of their best and brightest wandered. Demas left Paul, in love with the world (2 Timothy 4:10).  These men left John for a fad- and by doing so had forsaken Christ himself.  So many in our culture have chosen popularity over the gospel- may we not do the same. John is clear with this heavy warning.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

To our 21st century eyes, this makes us sit up straight in our seat.  "Wait, we're not supposed to welcome them in?"  A few things need to be said in way of background.  First, the church or churches John is writing to most likely met in houses.  So, to welcome someone into your house was not saying not to have them over for dinner, but to welcome to them into the body as a brother.  IT assumed them to be a true Christian. Second, the first century gathering was not a place to reach unbelievers but a place to equip believers.  In the first century, death would await the Christians who gathered, so these Christian worship gatherings were not a place to invite their Pagans neighbors who would have had them arrested and/or killed.

So, to invite someone into your house was to welcome them fully as a trusted member of the body.  But, those who do not abide the teaching of Christ should not be given that welcome.  They are not brothers, they are enemies of the teaching of Christ, and could possibly sell these First Century Christians into the hands of the Romans.  Also, to fully embrace them as a brother or sister would mean to fully embrace their false teachings about Jesus which is dangerous for them, but false teaching is also to the congregation.  As Paul writes, sound doctrine saves both the believer and their hearers (1 Timothy 4:16).  It was for the sake of love and the sake of the truth that they did not welcome false teachers into the body.

John loved these people, as is clear as he closes his letter to them.  He has so much he would like to say, but he can't.  His joy would not be complete until they see each other face to face.  As the last two verses read,
Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. The children of your elect sister greet you.

Love and truth bind us together and create joy-filled community.  Of all John could have said in his epistle, their are certain things he just desired to say to their face!  Nothing can replace the local church in John's heart.  Even if he could have live-streamed the gathering, it would not be a proper replacement for being bodily present in the gathering!  His love for the truth was a desire for their joy.  Deception abounds which seeks to kill our joy, but the local church exists that we our hearts may be on fire with love for God, and our minds might be captivated with the wonderful truth of Himself.  The local church is not an option for the Christian, it was not seen as an option for John, but it existed that we may love and treasure God more- for our joy and His glory.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Anthony Hoekema on the Optimism of Amillenialism

"Yet, since we know that the victory of Christ over evil was decisive and that Christ is now on the throne, the dominant mood of amillennial eschatology is optimism — Christian optimism. This means that we view no world crisis as totally beyond help and no social trend as absolutely irreversible. It means that we live in hope — a hope that is built on faith and that expresses itself in love.

Amillennial eschatology, therefore, gives us a realistic, yet basically optimistic world-and-life view. It is an eschatology which is exciting, exhilarating and challenging. It is an eschatology which gives us an inspiring vision of the lordship of Christ over history and of the ultimate triumph of his kingdom."

You read the whole piece, much of which I would endorse fully, here and read his whole book entitled "Amillenialism" here

Monday, May 2, 2016

Truth in Love: A Study of 2 John (Part 3)

John is writing this letter to spur the church on toward loving others in truth.  He takes a sharp turn in verse 7 to tell us why this is such a necessity for believers.  “For many deceivers have gone out into the world…”  We are to love in truth because deception aboundsWe need to notice that John’s warning is not a new warning.  The Spirit has been issuing this warning from the very beginning.  In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth without sin.  He created man and woman in His image to live and propagate His glory in all the earth.  God gave one command- do not eat from the tree of the in the center of the garden.  Many find this to be a silly command, but if we think from Adam and Eve’s perspective, disobedience in actually the stupid action.  Adam and Eve could have everything in all of God’s creation except the fruit from one tree.  He even issued that there were consequences for their actions, if they eat of it, they will die.  If you had a nut allergy, why would you give up a steak for a cashew?  Adam and Eve were deceived by the serpent and fell to choose cashews over stake.

Why is this significant?  Because just as the deceiver tempted the lady in the Garden, so the deceiver tempts the “elect lady” (the church) to choose cashews over stake.  The devil’s promises are always cashews compared to the four course meal of God’s promises.  The story remains the same for the church today.  What is one of the deceiver’s primary deceptions?  It isn’t found in eating a fruit, but in  forsaking the identity of Jesus Christ.

“…those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”  One of the primary deceptions of the devil is doctrinal, specifically Christological.  The person of God is always under the direct attack by the serpent.  His question to Eve, “Did God really say…?” echoes today, saying, “Did Jesus really say…?”  First, this shows the supremacy of Jesus.  Why would Satan go after something that wasn’t supreme?  Second, this shows us the necessity of doctrine.  We must feed our people on the meat of the Word- because that is the food Satan wants to swap out for salty snacks!  Notice what is being denied in this letter by John- the humanity of Jesus.  Not just His past humanity, but the Greek denotes the action continuing to take place.  Jesus Christ has come and lingers in the flesh.  Satan takes joy in taking split hairs if splitting hairs involved splitting salvation from man, and God’s glory from Himself.  Jesus Christ is human, and His humanity is central to the gospel, because if Christ is not fully human, He cannot be our perfect substitute.  Christ must also remain human to be able to sympathize with us as a high priest (Hebrews 2:14-18, 4:16-18).  By splitting this hair, our salvation is lost.

We need Bible teachers who will split the hairs and deeply love the tiniest truths about the person of Christ because the deepest truths of Christ are what Satan and his false teachers hate the most.  We are commanded then to “Watch ourselves” against such “deceivers and antichrists.”  The former describes the false teacher’s relationship to us, the second their relationship to God (opposed to Christ).  To be opposed to the teaching of Christ is to oppose himself, and this we must stand on truth.  Truth matters.  Love must also not be forgotten for love is what drives us to watch ourselves.

The central point of 2 John begins to form- we must love in truth because deception abounds.  There is much on the line in John’s command.  We must watch the doctrine of ourselves and those around us because our reward is on the line.  “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.”  The glories of our reward in Christ are on the line, and thus if we love people we will speak to them in their deception.  Eternity is on the line, and thus we must love those around us who are caught in deception and with the truth point them to eternal reward.  The reward which our Savior defines as the joy of the Master- the eternal joy God has had within Himself for all eternity.  How can we not open our mouths and in love speak the truth when deception is holding back these treasures and offering false promises?  False promises which, I remind you, lead to eternal destruction and not eternal life (Jude 5-8, 23).  Let us love people because deception abounds- and eternity is on the line.

We will conclude our study through 2 John in the next post.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Truth and Love: A Study of 2 John (part 2)

As we continue in our study of 2 John we are reminded that John is writing to a local church, reminding them of the importance of love and truth. He gets more specific this week as he continues.

“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth…” John has apparently seen the lifestyle of the people in this church. Their obedience brings him joy. Great joy. This lifestyle is habitual and faithful (noted by the use of the term “walking”). We also note that this joy was found in seeing “some” of then walking in the truth. All of the children had not been walking in this way. This should in some ways comfort us in knowing that when God calls us “children” it means he doesn’t expect us to stand on our own right away. It is also comforting to note that he does celebrate progress.

It cannot be escaped that the Holy Spirit through John is highlighting “the truth.” A fixed, body of eternal truth. Relativism is incompatible with a Christian worldview and incompatible with Christian living. We cannot live out truth if truth is not fixed and knowable- “just as you were commanded by the Father.” Truth is knowable because God has spoken.

With this foundation, John continues with his point in writing. “I ask you dear lady” He begins by pointing two things, first that his exhortation is not given without deep care for them. John models what this book proclaims, truth must be declared in love. He notes first his love for the church (the “lady”). Then he declares that what he is going to exhort them in is truth by saying, “not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning.” By this he is saying that he is not writing a new command (though he could, he had the authority to do so), but that this truth is truth which John himself, and this church, knew well. In fact, it reached all the way back to the days of Moses. His command was “that you love one another.” This command reached back into the book of Leviticus, but certainly its echo was fresh in the ears of the disciples from the Lord Jesus. In His last week of earthly ministry He commanded His disciples to “love one another” and that by doing so the world would be “know that they were his disciples.” Love proclaims truth. But, as John points us next, love does not exist apart from truth.

“And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” John goes so far as to explain how we love- through obedience to God. Love does not exist outside of obedience, and therefore; love can never be without truth. The most loving thing we owe Christians and non-Christians around us is to live an authentic life of obedience to God. 1 John is all about how this plays out in the Christian life. But, this should be the central point we walk away with from these verses in 2 John; “We must love one another in truth…” Loving one another in truth begins by living as an authentic witness in our life. Obedience is not just done to declare our love for God, but our love for others. We must reminder these essentials as we look next at why he so concerned with love: because deception abounds!  See you next week.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Election Fuels Mission
It is often charged that if you believe in election then you won’t evangelize. But the same Lord who gave is the Great Commission spoke of the “elect.” It is also said that, “If you believe in election then you believe that people are created for Hell, and therefore you have no consistent reason to share the gospel.” A.W. Pink talks more about this in his book, “The Sovereignty of God.” Honestly, this response to the doctrines of grace is partially right and partially wrong. Do those who believe in election believe people are “created for” Hell? If by this they mean that God creates an individual fully knowing their eternal destiny, then yes. I would say that every Christian believes this. If God knows everything, then He knows the eternal destinies of those He creates when He creates, thus He creates people knowing they will not repent. I disagree, as does the Bible, that this leads to fatalism and to lack of evangelistic zeal. In fact, God’s sovereignty in salvation becomes a fuel for Paul in one of the Bible’s most controversial chapter: Romans 9. To this we will turn and see how unconditional election empowers and emboldens personal evangelism.

In Romans 9, Paul is speaking of the glory of God’s sovereign mercy, he also writes of the glory of God’s sovereign wrath. This is usually where people begin to raise issues with the doctrine of unconditional election. But Paul never made it a barrier to his evangelism, but saw it as a boulder that crushes human pride! He begins the conversation in Romans 9 speaking of Israel and of God’s choosing of Jacob over Esau (before either were born or had done good for bad – Romans 9:11-12). Paul, anticipating a heckler responds back, “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means!” (Romans 9:14). His response? God is God and you are not.

Paul gives yet another case study, the Exodus. He draws his readers back to Moses and Pharaoh. Similar to what he does in v. 22-23, he begins by speaking on God’s mercy. It depends not on human will or exertion but on God’s who gives mercy verse 16 tells us. He even quotes from Exodus to further prove his point! He then turns to the other side of the coin- God’s severity. He quotes from Exodus 4:21 to say, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” God’s purpose in the life of Pharaoh was to show his wrath and power through him. This would proclaim his name in all the earth!

Pharaoh was an example of what happens when you rebel against God and God let him rebel. He freely let him pursue what He wanted- disobedience. Disobedience through a hard heart always gives way to further hardening. In fact, Romans 1 makes clear that the judgment for a hard heart is a harder heart. Hard, disobedient, hearts are, apart from God’s grace black holes of God’s judgment, never emptying. Such is the severity of our sin! And God choosing to judge and further harden the heart of Pharaoh’s heart is an example of us of God’s severity and provides a basis for our message. The darkness of our sin only makes his mercy shine brighter! This provides a foundation to declare the sinfulness and emptiness of sin. It also provides a foundation for declaring the judgment of God against sin, without which we cannot understand the mercy of God in Christ!

In fact, later in Moses account of Exodus, God makes this clear to Moses, saying, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.’” - Exodus 10:1-2

Moses is told to preach to Pharaoh “for” God had hardened his heart. For means because. His hardening provided a basis for him to do so. This text gives us two primary reasons which we have seen throughout. First, Moses is told to speak so that God might show signs. Signs of his power. The plagues. He wants the Israelites to know that He was the Lord of power! Second, Moses is told to speak to show “how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians.” Speak so that I might show the severity and vanity of sin! Pharaoh was a test case of the life in the pursuit of sin! It doesn’t end well. It ends in judgment. Pharaoh is what happens when one tastes the bitterness of hatred for God and doesn’t taste deep of humility and kindness of God. This is even given as a foundation for teaching the future generations of Israelites! Flee to God’s mercy where is may be found! The sovereign judgment of God gives the basis and foundation for preaching the bad news- which gives way to the glorious news of God’s mercy and rescue!

Paul continues this theme as he continues in Romans 9. He writes in verse 22-23,

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory

He juxtaposes God’s judgment with God’s mercy showing that God has created a world in which both of these will be displayed to the glory of God. The darkness of judgment makes mercy look brighter. While many will want to point a finger at God for the dark side of unconditional election, they will not rest in the brightness of God’s unconditional mercy. Unconditional election does not just show us the severity of sin, but it shows us the glories of mercy. He chose to extend mercy so that we might know the riches of glory. Those whom He has chosen are the vessels of mercy, and He has chosen for us to know riches. The greatest riches in all the world is the glory of God through redemptive history. Ephesians 1:3-6 brings this truth to the forefront,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

He chose us before the foundations of the world. He chose us knowing all we would be, past, present and future. Charles Spurgeon said it this way, “I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love.”

God’s predestination of us should lead us (the vessels of mercy!) to gaze upon God’s glory and to fall before Him in worship. We are predestined according to the purpose of His will for the praise of His grace. Sovereign grace leads to praise. We treasure His mercy more when we recognize that it wasn’t a response to foreseen faith, but solely out of His kindness. We proclaim what we treasure. Treasuring His grace empowers the proclamation of grace. 1 Peter 2:9 further brings this out when he writes, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

We have been chosen to proclaim His excellencies. His excellency is declared in His sovereign mercy and His sovereign judgment. Once we wrap out minds around what we can of God’s eternal rescue plan through our election, our purchase through Christ, our calling, our eventual glorification, it will stop our mouths. Not from declaring His gospel, but from declaring our supremacy. How are we to talk back to God? He is the potter, we are the clay (Romans 9:20-21).

Paul continues in Romans 9 to give further hope. In fact Romans 9 is sandwiched between two heartfelt pleas and desire for men to be saved! Paul wished himself a accursed that others may know the riches of mercy (9:3)! His hearts desire and pray that men would be saved (Romans 10:1)! Paul could feel this evangelistic agony not in tension with the doctrine of election, but precisely because of it!

The doctrine of election gives the hope that even the greatest outcast to be saved. Paul continues in Romans 9,

even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
"And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’
” - Romans 9:24-26

God’s vessels, his chosen ones, are not a select few, but a multitude from every tribe on earth. It was not just the Jews who had the covenant, and the worship, and the Old Testament, (9:4), but God even chooses and calls and saves the furthest from God! God calls the Gentiles. The ones who were not his people are now His beloved. This gives us hope that even the most vile, God-hating, resistant people we know can be offered the gospel. We don’t know who the elect are, and this is exactly why we must declare the gospel to everyone we know! No one is outside of rescuing power of God. Those who freely rebel against Him can be rescued if His Spirit draws. The hope of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is extend to all whom we share-

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

“Such were some of you.” There is much hope found in these words. We pray, we anguish, we labor, because God is sovereign and uses these means to accomplish his saving purpose! All things will be conformed to the “purpose of His will” (Eph. 1:11), but He has chosen the proclamation of the word of truth to be the means by which he rescues sinners. God’s sovereignty does not empty the use of means, but fuels the use of means. Sovereign grace fuels the proclamation of the gospel.

In fact, this is the last point that needs to be brought out. Not only does sovereign grace fuel gospel proclamation, but it fuels long term gospel endurance. We can endure the trials of life and ministry as a Christian because God ensures the success of His Word and the accomplishment of His mission. Sovereign grace fueled Paul in Corinth when he felt hopeless to see results the Lord came to him in a vision. Acts 18 records this event

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,  for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”  And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. - Acts 18:9-11

He tells Paul to continue to endure in ministry because He was with him, He was sovereign to protect him and because He was sovereign to save those who are “His people.” God can save whom He will save, and this empowered Paul to stay for 18 months teaching the word of God. Election empowered this. Election fuels the fire of Paul’s passion to see souls saved and keeps it burning through the long restless nights of ministry! So election will do for His people today and for endless ages to come. The words of Issac Watts echo the cry of a soul gripped by the doctrine of election. May it be our song as well.

How sweet and aweful is the place, With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays, The choicest of her stores!

Here every bowel of our God, With soft compassion rolls;
Here peace and pardon bought with blood, Is food for dying souls.

While all our hearts and all our songs, Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues, “Lord, why was I a guest?

“Why was I made to hear Thy voice, And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice, And rather starve than come?”

’Twas the same love that spread the feast, That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste, And perished in our sin.

Pity the nations, O our God! Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad, And bring the strangers home.

We long to see Thy churches full, That all the chosen race
May with one voice, and heart and soul, Sing Thy redeeming grace. 
- Issac Watts. "How Sweet and Aweful is the Place" 1707