Monday, August 26, 2013

How Might Charles Spurgeon Respond to the "Free Will Song"?

In the following video the "Joy Quartet" at Pensacola Christian College seek to teach us about the Arminian doctrine of free will.


The following quotation from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon entitled Free Will—A Slave is a fitting response, I think.
You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say; but you never heard an Arminian prayer—for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free-will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying, "Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not—that is the difference between me and them." That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that. Ah! when they are preaching and talking very slowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray, the true thing slips out; they cannot help it. If a man talks very slowly, he may speak in a fine manner; but when he comes to talk fast, the old brogue of his country, where he was born, slips out. I ask you again, did you ever meet a Christian man who said, "I came to Christ without the power of the Spirit?" If you ever did meet such a man, you need have no hesitation in saying, "My dear sir, I quite believe it—and I believe you went away again without the power of the Spirit, and that you know nothing about the matter, and are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity." Do I hear one Christian man saying, "I sought Jesus before he sought me; I went to the Spirit, and the Spirit did not come to me"? No, beloved; we are obliged, each one of us, to put our hands to our hearts and say—
"Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes to o'erflow;
'Twas grace that kept me to this day,
And will not let me go."

Is there one here—a solitary one—man or woman, young or old, who can say, "I sought God before he sought me?" No; even you who are a little Arminian, will sing—
"O yes! I do love Jesus—
Because he first loved me."
The apostle Paul declared the truth of how we are saved through faith in Christ, and who is the author of such faith, when he wrote:
NKJ  Ephesians 2:1-10 "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Our salvation is God's work from beginning to end! We were formally dead in trespasses and sins and were incapable of trusting in Christ apart from God's granting us the gift of faith. So much for "free will."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eternal Life and the Mosaic Covenant

Was the Mosaic Covenant only concerned about temporal blessings? Was living long and peaceful lives in a land filled with milk and honey the ultimate reward for obeying the Law of Moses? Or was eternal life the ultimate promise of the Mosaic Covenant.

New Covenant Theology (NCT) views the Law of Moses as a code of morality that only demanded external obedience. Some NCT proponents have even sought to explain away the tenth commandment (thou shalt not covet) as a command not to steal. Regardless, for NCT, the Mosaic Covenant was merely an external covenant that promised external blessings to an external people. In some ways, NCT looks at the Mosaic Covenant and the nation of Israel in the same way Dispensationalists look at the New Covenant and the church—parenthetical to God’s overall redemptive plan.

I, on the other hand, believe that the Mosaic Covenant was more than just a parenthetical and typological covenant that was given to foreshadow New Covenant realities. In addition to that, I believe that the Mosaic Covenant was designed for Christ Jesus to fulfill in order to establish eternal life for all who believe. In other words, for national Israel, the Mosaic Covenant was typological and provided only temporal and physical blessings, but for Christ (the true Israel of God), who fulfilled the Mosaic Covenant, it brought eternal and spiritual blessings (i.e., eternal life). In other words, the Mosaic Covenant of works was necessary because the New Covenant of grace was born out of its fulfillment.

With this in mind, there are at least nine reasons why I believe that the Mosaic Covenant promised eternal life.        

1. The Promises of Mosaic Covenant Flowed Out of the Promises of the Abrahamic Covenant

To say that the Mosaic Covenant only promised physical and temporal blessings is to say that the Abrahamic Covenant only promised physical and temporal blessings. This is because the promises of the Mosaic Covenant are one and the same as the promises given to Abraham. “I will be your God, and you shall be my people” was the ultimate goal of both the Abrahamic and the Mosaic Covenant. And yes, these spiritual promises were conditional under both the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenant, but to say that the Mosaic Covenant did not promises spiritual and eternal promises is to say that the Abrahamic Covenant did not flow out of the Abrahamic Covenant.  

2. Moses Taught that Eternal Life was Promised in the Mosaic Covenant  

According to Moses, the reward for obedience was not merely a prosperous temporal life but eternal life: “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them” (Lev. 18:5). This is due to the fact that the curses of the Old Covenant not only threatened Israel with expulsion from the promised land but also ultimately, threatened the physical seed of Abraham with being “cut off” from God. For it is written, “the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven” (Deut. 29:20). For the land of promise was to be more than a geographical plot of land for the children of Israel to inhabit, but more importantly it was to be the place where God’s presence would dwell with man. Therefore, to be cut off and expelled from the land implied the greater danger of being cut off and exiled from God.

3. Paul Taught that Eternal Life was Promised in the Mosaic Covenant  

The Apostle Paul understood that Moses was speaking of eternal life when he compared and contrasted the Mosaic Covenant with the New Covenant: “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says...For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom. 10:5, 10). In other words, Paul is not making a distinction between the “life” that was promised in the Mosaic Covenant from the “life” that is promised in the New Covenant. Rather, Paul is contrasting how “life” was to be obtained in the Mosaic Covenant from how “life” is obtained in the New Covenant, which is a distinction between the works of the law and faith in Christ Jesus. For as Paul says in another place: “But law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them’” (Gal. 3:12).

4. Christ Taught that Eternal Life was Promised in the Mosaic Covenant  

Moreover, when a certain person came up to Christ asking “what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” The Lord responded by saying, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:16-18).[1] For even the Lord Jesus affirmed that it was not merely a long physical life but eternal life that the Law of Moses promised to those who loved God with all their hearts and loved their neighbor as themselves (Luke 10:25-29). Which conversely affirms that eternal death awaits all those who fail to love God in the slightest with all their hearts, minds, strength and souls. Calvin was right when he claimed, “It is quite certain that the primary promises, which contained that covenant ratified with the Israelites by God under the Old Testament, were spiritual and referred to eternal life.”[2]

5. If the Law was Spiritual, then the Promises Must Have Been Spiritual (i.e., Promising Eternal Life)

Moreover, because the Mosaic Covenant was a republication of the moral law of God, it by necessity promised eternal life for all who perfectly obeyed God. Unless the Law of Moses was something less than the perfect moral law of God, then it held out eternal life for those who kept it and eternal death for those who did not. Thus, Samuel Petto (1624-1711) concluded:

Now the Sinai covenant is a platform of the legal righteousness which was indispensably necessary unto life; there it is deciphered, delineated, and described, more clearly than in any other federal expressure. The Sinai covenant excels all other, in discovering what that righteousness is, upon which we enjoy eternal life.[3]

Again, NCT teaches that the Law of Moses merely demanded external obedience, and thus it would make
sense that external obedience cannot offer spiritual life. But, if the Law of Moses is spiritual (the perfect
moral law of God), then eternal life and death must be its ultimate blessing and curse.

6. Removes Christ from the Adamic Covenant of Works

And it is important to note that the covenant of works that God established in the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants is same as the covenant of works that was established with Adam, for it consisted of the same moral law with the same blessings and curses. Eschatological life and death were at the heart of both. As Edward Fisher writes, “the law delivered on Mount Sinai, and formerly engraven on man’s heart, was one and the same; so that at Mount Sinai the Lord delivered no new thing.”[4] Therefore, these two covenants of works are one and the same, but were issued with two different federal heads. This safely removes Christ from the membership of the broken Adamic Covenant of works, while placing Him in the revised covenant of works that was established in the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants.

Consequently, the federal head of the Adamic Covenant of works is Adam who brought death upon all humanity, while the federal head of the Abrahamic/Mosaic Covenant of works is Christ Jesus who thankfully brings life to all who are united to Him by faith. Thus, we are condemned in Adam who broke the first covenant of works but justified in Christ who fulfilled the second covenant of works. But again, the same moral law that was broken by the first Adam was the moral law that was satisfied by the second Adam (Rom. 5:12-21).

This also means that the Adamic Covenant of works is still currently holding Adam’s natural seed captive to the curses of the law (i.e., death), while the Abrahamic/Mosaic Covenant of works has been satisfied for all of Abraham’s spiritual seed who are heirs to the blessings of the law (i.e., life). In short, the first covenant of works (made with the first Adam) remains broken, while the second covenant of works (made with the second Adam) is fulfilled. Consequently, a person is either in union with the first Adam or in union with the second Adam. And depending upon which union that is, depends if that person is under law or under grace.

And just because it was impossible for the physical seed of Abraham to fulfill such a strict and demanding covenant did not mean that its promises and curses were nullified.[5] For their responsibility to obey was not contingent upon their ability to obey. This may seem unfair, but the moral law by its very nature cannot be anything but fair. And this is why the Mosaic Covenant was an administration unto death rather than unto life, for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Nevertheless, for this reason, the Mosaic Covenant was not hypothetical. The covenant of works condemns all those who are not found righteous in the sight of God’s moral law. Hell is proof that the terms of the covenant of works are unchangeable. The Cross of Calvary is proof that the covenant was not hypothetical.

For the blessings of the law to be established, then the physical seed of Abraham (i.e., Christ) had to fulfill the demands and the curses of the law. For God to be both just and merciful there is simply no way around this. Thus, for sinners, the law was given to awaken them to their own sinfulness and administer death, but for the righteous (i.e., Christ) it was given to establish life.

7. Christ Fulfilled the Law of Moses

Christ fulfilled is the moral law of God in His life and death. And if the Law of Moses is the moral law of God, then Christ fulfilled it. When the Bible speaks of Christ obeying the law, it is speaking primarily of the Law of Moses and not to the law of creation (which, nevertheless, I believe, that they are the same).

·          Matt. 5:17-19 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
·   Gal 3:10-14 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith."   But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 

Galatians 3:10-14 speaks of Christ fulfilling the Law of Moses in order to bring the spiritual blessings of Abraham to all who believe. For this reason alone, the Mosaic Covenant must have promised more than just temporal and physical blessings.

8. The promises in the Mosaic Covenant spoke of Eternal Realities  

Although the Mosaic Covenant was merely typological in the Old Testament dispensation, the promises spoke of eternal realities. For instance, take this quote by G. K. Beale:

…after promising that God would restore Israel and ‘multiply men’, and make them ‘increase and be fruitful’ (Ez. 36:10-11), he also promises a ‘multiplications’ of fruitfulness (36:29-30), so that Israel’s formerly desolated land will ‘become like the garden of Eden’ in which God ‘will increase their men like a flock’ (cf. 36:35-38). Then, in direct development of these preceding ideas and of Leviticus 26:6-12 (!), Ezekiel 37:26-28 again refers to that aspect of the promise of ‘multiplying them’ and ties it to Israel’s temple: ‘It will be an everlasting covenant…And I will…multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their misdst forever. My dwelling place [or ‘tabernacle’] also will be over them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.’[6]

Were these promises physical or spiritual? I would say they were both physical and spiritual. Of course, because of Israel’s failure to obey, the nation of Israel did not enter into the fulfillment of these promises, but regardless these promises pointed to the new heavens and the new earth where they would be ultimately fulfilled. And if this is the case, then the promises given in the Mosaic Covenant, although not fulfilled in the Old Testament dispensation, looked to the greater and eternal realities to come. For what national Israel was unable to bring about, we see Christ, the true Israel of God, establishing.

9. The Deficiency of Mosaic Covenant was not that It Promised only Temporal Blessings but that It was Unable to Establish the Spiritual Promises  

When the Scripture speaks of the Mosaic Covenant as being physical and the New Covenant as being spiritual, this does not mean that the Old Covenant was unconcerned about spiritual realities (e.g., circumcised heart, eternal life) or that the New Covenant is unconcerned about physical realities (e.g., a new earth, a resurrected body, etc…). Rather, the difference between the Old and New Covenants is that they approach the physical and spiritual concerns of the Abrahamic Covenant from two different directions or starting points.

For instance, the Old Covenant was ineffectual because it sought to reform the inner man by external means. For instance, the Mosaic Covenant started by issuing outward circumcision but afterwards it demanded inward circumcision. Moreover, once the Old Covenant law was etched in stone, it required inward obedience from the heart. Moreover, though the physical children of Abraham were given a physical land and established in a physical kingdom, they would not fulfill their ultimate purpose until they filled the land of promise (i.e., the earth) with the presence, knowledge, and glory of God as the spiritual and holy people of God. Yet, because the Old Covenant started from the outside, it remained ineffectual in establishing for its unregenerate membership the spiritual promise of the Abrahamic Covenant. For no matter how hard one tries, outward legislation (regardless of the purity of the laws) can never change sinful and depraved hearts.

On the other hand, the New Covenant is effectual in securing the physical promises of the Abrahamic Covenant because it starts not with the physical but with the spiritual realities first. For example, a circumcised heart precedes water baptism, and spiritual regeneration goes before outward obedience of the law. Moreover, before the saints inherit the world at the end of the age, they must be born again into a spiritual kingdom in the present age. The New Covenant will bring about universal peace, prosperity, and a new heavens and a new earth where only righteousness dwells, but only because it starts by calling out a spiritual people unto a heavenly kingdom in the midst of this fallen world first.

Therefore, in this sense, the promises of the Old and New Covenant are the same, but they have two different means in which they seek to accomplish their end objectives. As it were, the Old Covenant, by the works of the law, sought to enter the house of God through the back door, which always remains locked for the sinner. By grace, on the other hand, the New Covenant has opened the front door of the house of God for the believer through the finished work of Christ Jesus. For Christ went through the back door by obedience of the law so that he could open the front door for all who enter by faith.

For this reason, the New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant. In that, unlike the Old Covenant, the grace of the New Covenant has the power to save sinners and usher believers into the presence of God because it begins by effectually changing their hearts.

Nevertheless, though God redeems the soul before He redeems the body, God revealed the law of the Old Covenant before He revealed the grace of the New Covenant. In other words, though the spiritual kingdom of this age comes before the creation of the new heavens and the new earth in the age to come, the spiritual kingdom of this age was foreshadowed by the physical kingdom of Israel in the previous age.

In the order of salvation, the spiritual comes before the physical, but in the order of revelation, the physical is revealed before the spiritual.

The Order of Revelation
Physical, then Spiritual
The Old Covenant, then the New Covenant
Law, then Grace
Do this, then Live
Ishmael, then Isaac
Animal Sacrifices, then Christ
Israel, then the Church

The Order of Salvation
Spiritual, then Physical
New Heart, then Obedience
Grace, then Works
Live, then do this
Redemption of the Soul, then Glorification of the Body
The Spiritual Kingdom, then the New Earth

Thus, in regards to the order of divine revelation, the ineffectual and physical realities of the Old Covenant, which were revealed first, were only shadows and types of the effectual and spiritual realities of the New Covenant, which were revealed afterwards. “For…the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities” (Heb. 10:1).

But this only stands to reason. Because the Old Covenant could not fulfill the spiritual promises of the Abrahamic Covenant, even the physical promises of the Abrahamic Covenant were never fully fulfilled either. The physical seed, land, kingdom, and temple may have come first and looked like the real thing, but because of their inability to produce the inward and spiritual promises, they were merely pictures or empty and typological shadows of the spiritual and physical realities, which were to be established afterwards by the New Covenant. To put it more plainly, though the Mosaic Covenant promised eternal life it could not provide eternal life for the sinner, therefore the Mosaic Covenant at best was a temporal and typological covenant that pointed to the spiritual and eternal realities that would afterwards be established in the New Covenant.

For this reason, the Old Covenant was not only ineffectual in establishing the promises of Abraham, it was a temporal covenant that was not designed to last forever. The ineffectual shadows of the Old Covenant where to continue until the effectual and eternal realities of the New Covenant were establishment in Christ Jesus and then they were to pass away.


For fallen Israel, the Mosaic Covenant was unable to establish the spiritual and eternal promises of the Abrahamic Covenant. For them, the Law of Moses, was design to condemn them. But what Israel failed to do (due to the weakness of their sinful flesh), Christ, the physical child of Abraham (who was born under the Law of Moses), did. In this since the Law of Moses was not designed to condemn but to justify Christ. In a word, because of the fallen nature of the children of Abraham in the Old Testament dispensation, the Mosaic Covenant was merely typological and dealt with only temporal blessings, but because of Christ stratification of the Mosaic Covenant, the New Covenant users in the spiritual and eternal blessings that were promised in both the Abrahamic and the Mosaic Covenants.

[1] Italics mine.
[2] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Edited by John T. McNeill. Translated by Ford Lewis Battles. The Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1977), 4.16.11.
[3] Samuel Petto, The Great Mystery of the Covenant of Grace (Stoke-on-Trent, UK: Tentmaker Publishers), 129. Italics mine.
[4] Edward Fisher, The Morrow of Modern Divinity (Ross-shire, UK: Christian Focus, 2009), 80.
[5] According to Edward Fisher, the inability to obey the Mosaic Covenant did not make the covenant unjust: “[F]or the Lord may justly require perfect obedience at all men’s hands, by virtue of that covenant which was made with them in Adam; and if any man could yield perfect obedience to the law, both in doing and suffering, he should have eternal life; for we may not deny (says Calvin) but that the reward of eternal salvation belongeth to the upright obedience of the law” (The Morrow of Modern Divinity, 85).
[6] G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, 111

Some Books on the History of Reformed Baptists

For interested blog readers, here is a preliminary list of books recounting the history of our Reformed Baptist heritage. I welcome your own suggestions for further reading.

Perhaps the best pace to start would be Tom Nettles' excellent book entitled By His Grace and for His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life. This book is a very good historical introduction especially for those who don't yet have much knowledge of the history of Calvinism among Baptists.

Other books include:

History of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1771-1892: From John Gill to C.H. Spurgeon by Robert W. Oliver

A Cloud of Witnesses: Calvinistic Baptists in the 18th Century by Michael Haykin

The British Particular Baptists - Volume 1 edited by Michael Haykin

The British Particular Baptists - Volume 2 edited by Michael Haykin

The British Particular Baptists - Volume 3 edited by Michael Haykin

The three volume set edited by Haykin is published by Particular Baptist Press who states that "Each volume of this three volume set contains professionally written biographical sketches of the British Particular Baptists from 1638 - 1910."

The Particular Baptist Press also offers a number of other British Baptist biographical and historical works here.

Do you have any books that should be added to the list? Feel free to comment and make your suggestions.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Top Hats, T-Shirts & Hallowed Be Thy Name

I remember as if it was yesterday. “Hey Chad,” I yelled across the basketball court. The echo of my voice that reverberated throughout the gym was met with a clear and firm response from the tall scary man with a whistle around his neck, “I am coach.” Seeing the fire in his eyes and the resolve in the tone of his voice, I decided then and there to never address “coach” by his first name again.

I am thankful for that pointed lesson, for it has stuck with me to this day. My parents taught me and my coach reaffirmed the importance of verbally reverencing my elders and superiors. Yet what was demanded twenty years ago is hardly even expected today. This informal and irreverent attitude is not a minor issue either. For it seems to be connected with multiple other social problems.

An ever-increasing disregard for the elderly is one such problem. Our culture no longer places a premium on the gray hair and the experiential wisdom of our senior citizens but rather the smooth skin of our youth. The older generation is not only being disrespected, they are being pushed aside. “Out of the way old man, your walker is slowing down progress.” Sad, but it is true that our culture would rather follow the counsel of the hip, pop star than to sit at the feet of its elders. Apparently being young and restless is better than being old and stable. But it only stands to reason, if we do not respect, value, and honor our elders, then why would we worry about addressing them in any way that would set them above ourselves?

But this downgrade is not only seen in how the culture views the elderly, but also in how the youth-crave culture has attacked all forms of formality, structure, and authority. Top hats and ties have been replaced with flip-flops and screen-printed tees. “Sir.”, “Mr.”, and “Mrs.” have been substituted with the phrase “Hey you.” There is hardly any distinction between those in authority and those under authority. Children rule over their parents, and parents are eager to place their parents in the nursing home. Let’s keep things causal is often more than a desire to wear comfortable jeans but a desire to keep relationships informal by removing the categories of honor, submission, authority, and accountability. There are becoming less and less environments where formality and gravitas behavior is expected. Not only is it okay to wear pajamas to Walmart, it is okay to wear them to work.

The most troubling thing about the cultural shift is that its effects appear to be most evident in the church. For if there is one environment where there is to be a clear distinction between that which is holy and that which is secular you would think it would be in the presence of a Holy and all-powerful God. Yet sacred music, the sanctuary, and the pulpit (which represents the highest office in the world) have been replaced with rock music and a stage. More and more churches are seeking to attract and appeal to the young and the restless. With this age sensitive marketing stage, the older generations, along with their old-school tastes, are purposefully being marginalized while the average age of the leadership of the church continues to be getting younger. Youth and good looks are more important to represent the face of the church than age, maturity, and wisdom. This is because the church seems to be more concerned about representing the latest cultural fads than representing a holy God. And by a holy God I do not mean a God that desires the church to dress like the characters on Little House on the Prairie, but a God that is envious and protective of His name. God is protective of His name because it represents His uniqueness, transcendence, and set-apartness. God is not like us dependent, weak, miserable creators. Yet, the modern church seems to be more concerned about making God look cool than representing Him as the thrice holy One who even the sinless angels dare not look upon him with uncovered faces. By seeking to make our Lord Jesus look “cool,” the “hip” church has sought to shape God into its own image. For let us not be mistaken, preaching in blue jeans and Toms is not just a desire to communicate to the “seeker” that the pastor is cool, it is often deliberately done to give the subtle impression that that our Lord is also “cool” and that His church is relevant to the cultural pressures of Vanity Fair.

Yet, the most troubling thing is not seeing more and more preachers preaching in T-shirts, for I just may be overly scrupulous and slightly legalistic, but hearing more and more preachers displaying a lack of respect to the Lord Jesus Christ by consciously or unconsciously referring to Him without His Biblical positions or titles. Take time to listen to Christian Radio for a few days and you will notice in both the music and the sermons that the Lord Jesus Christ is most often referenced merely by the name “Jesus.” It is truly amazing how today’s professing Christians speak so informally and casually about the Lord of Glory.

Our Lord is not just “Jesus,” He is Christ Jesus; He is the “Lord Jesus;” He is the “Lord Jesus Christ.” He is not just a mere man, for if my high-school basketball coach felt offended by me calling him “Chad,” how much more does our God desire for His name to be reverenced? Would you feel right about calling an earthly monarch by his first name? Then, why do we feel so comfortable speaking about your Lord in such a fashion. “He is my friend,” you may say. Yes, that may be true, but He is also your Lord and your God. How can we pray, “Hallowed be Thy name,” if we do not desire to hallow and reverence His name before others? Taking the Lord’s name in vain is not merely placing His name in an unholy context, but also speaking about Christ in a cavalier and thoughtless fashion. We would all do well to go back and reread R. C. Sproul’s book The Holiness of God.

I do not write this from a self-righteous position, for I once had an unconscious habit of talking about my Lord and Savior in a caviler matter. I remember talking to one of the godliest men I know, my father, and I was going on and on about “Jesus.” And when my father could no longer hold back, in love he firmly asked me not to talk about His Lord so flippantly. He went on to explain that the vast majority of the time, the Scriptures refer to Him not as merely “Jesus” but as “the Lord Jesus” or “Christ Jesus.” I remember feeling ashamed before my earthly father and my heavenly Father. I remain thankful for my father’s zeal for His Savior’s name, and it is with that same heart that I seek to write this article. Yes, I understand that there are proper settings and times to refer to the Lord as simply “Jesus.” Even so, let us do our best to reverence Christ’s name above every name that is named. And this can be done in part by making a conscious effort to identify our Lord and Savior by His proper titles.

Before I leave you, let me go on record, for I am not ashamed to say (regardless if I may be charged as an overly scrupulous, out-of-touch legalist), that I take real offense with the casual manner in which the name of my Lord Jesus Christ is continuously being tossed around by His followers. Let’s remember who we are—nobodies, and let’s remember who He is—the thrice-Holy God, Lord of lords and King of kings; He is the Christ, the Anointed Son of God.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

e-Sword 10.2.1 Available

The latest version of e-Sword -- the best free Bible study software -- is now available for download. Here are the update changes as posted at the website:
Scripture references in the Bible view having associated Study Notes will now display a wavy underline to denote such.
The Reference Library now has automatic Bookmarks for every article. The Graphics Viewer also has automatic Bookmarks for each module.
Most Commentary modules do not contain specific Chapter Notes, so for those that do not the Chapter Notes mode will now display all of the Verse Notes for that chapter. This is very convenient for viewing those commentaries that have very few or very brief notes.
The built-in Downloader now allows direct downloading of Premium modules without needing to run separate EXE files. A new Info... link displays additional information about the given module.
The VerseList feature will now accept numerous Scripture references at once for populating the list. For example, entering the following list is now valid:
    Mat. 10:42; 2 Sam 9:1, 7; Prov. 14:31; 19:17; Mark 9:41; John 19:26-27; 21:15-17; 1 Cor 16:21-22; 2 Cor 4:5; 5:14-15; 8:7-9; Gal. 5:6, 13, 22; 1 Thess 4:9-10; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 John 3:14-19; 4:7-12, 20-21; 5:1-2
A new Editor hotkey Ctrl+Shift+J will convert a Scripture reference into the actual Bible text using the currently selected Bible and formatting defined in the Copy Verses dialog.
I have used this program almost since it was first released, and it just keeps getting better all the time. I highly recommend it.