A Fool’s Claim: There! See? The Bible Does Contradict Itself!

Proverbs 26:4,5

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Wise men have need to be directed how to deal with fools; and they have never more need of wisdom than in dealing with such, to know when to keep silence and when to speak, for there may be a time for both.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Great wisdom is required as to when, as well as what to speak.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): To “answer,” and “not to answer,” is a consistent, and may, for aught critics know, be a very wise direction. Had the advice been given simply, and without circumstance, to answer the fool, and not to answer him, a critic, who had reverence for the text, would satisfy himself in supposing that the different directions referred to doing a thing “in and out of season.” But when to the general advice about answering, this circumstance is added, “according to his folly,” that interpretation is excluded; and a difficulty indeed arises―a difficulty which has made those who have no reverence for the text, accuse it of absurdity and contradiction. But now to each direction reasons are subjoined, why a fool should, and why he should not be answered; reasons which, when set together and compared, are at first sight sufficient to make a critic suspect that all the contradiction lies in his own incumbered ideas.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): But suppose that reason should meet with palpable contradictions in the Word of God?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The fault is in our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): God’s Word does not contradict itself…Each of these passages may be given its full force without there being any conflict between them.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): How can these contrary rules be reconciled, answer him not, and answer him?

CHARLES BRIDGES: Apparently contradictory statements are in fact only balancing truths; each correcting its opposite, and, like the antagonal muscles, contributing to the strength and completeness of the frame…We are forbidden, and yet commanded, to answer a fool. One rule decides—Answer him not; the other—Answer him. The reason, however, attached to each rule, explains the apparent contradiction. Both together are a wise directory for the treatment of the fool, according to the difference of character, time, or circumstances.

THOMAS COKE: The reason given why a fool should not be answered according to his folly is, lest hethe answerer―“should be like unto him.” The cause assigned for forbidding to answer, therefore plainly insinuates that the defender of religion should not imitate the insulter of it in his modes of disputation, which may be comprized in sophistry, buffoonery and scurrility.

MATTHEW HENRY: In some cases a wise man will not set his wit to that of a fool so far as to answer him according to his folly―“If he boast of himself, do not answer him by boasting of thyself. If he rail and talk passionately, do not thou rail and talk passionately too. If he tell one great lie, do not thou tell another to match it. If he calumniate thy friends, do not thou calumniate his. If he banter, do not answer him in his own language, lest thou be like him, even thou, who knowest better things, who hast more sense, and hast been better taught.”

CHARLES BRIDGES: Suppose a ‘free-thinker’ or scoffer at religion, showing the desperate “folly of his heart by making a mock at sin,” Proverbs 14:9, by witty and profane jestings, or specious arguments against the Word or ways of God. Generally speaking, it would be better to follow Hezekiah’s command concerning Rabshakeh’s blasphemy—“Answer him not,” 2 Kings 18:36. Jeremiah thus turned away in silence from the folly of the false prophets, Jeremiah 28:11.

MATTHEW POOLE: Answer him not, when he is incorrigible, or when he is inflamed with passion or wine, or when it is not necessary, nor likely to do him good.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): When either he curseth thee, or cryeth out upon thee for giving him due correction, pass such a one by in silence, as not worthy the answering. “Lest thou also be like unto him”―as hot and as headlong as he; for a little thing kindles us, and we are apt to think that we have reason to be mad, if evil entreated; to talk as fast for ourselves as he doth against us, and to give him as good as he brings; so that at length there will be never a wiser of the two, and people will say so. Hezekiah would not answer Rabshakeh, nor Jeremiah answer Hananiah; nor our Saviour his adversaries, Matthew 26:32; John 19:9; He reviled not his revilers, He threatened not, 1 Peter 2:23.

A. W. PINK: The Lord Jesus has expressly bidden us, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you,” Matthew 7:6. That command is designed to bridle the restless energy of the flesh.

CHARLES BRIDGES: But what may be at one time our duty to restrain, at another time, and under different circumstances, it may be no less our duty to do. Silence may sometimes be mistaken for defeat. Unanswered words may be deemed unanswerable, and the fool become arrogant, more and more “wise in his own conceit.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): He is to be answered when there is any hope of doing him good, or of doing good to others; or of preventing ill impressions being made upon others by what he has said; when the glory of God, the good of the church, and the cause of truth, require it; and when he would otherwise glory and triumph, as if his words were unanswerable―“lest he be wise in his own conceit,” which fools are apt to be, when no answer is given them, imagining it arises from the strength of their arguments.

JOHN TRAPP: Cast in somewhat that may sting him, and stop his mouth. Stone him with soft words but hard arguments, as Christ dealt with Pilate, John 19:8-11, lest he look upon himself as a conqueror, and be held so by the hearers. In fine, when a fool is among such as himself, answer him, lest he seem wise. If he be among wise men, answer him not, and they will regard rather thy seasonable silence than his passionate prattle.

MATTHEW HENRY: See here the noble security of the scripture-style, which seems to contradict itself, but really does not.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Oh! for wisdom to govern the tongue; to discover “the time to keep silence, and the time to speak,” Ecclesiates 3:7; most of all to suggest the “word fitly spoken,” (Proverbs 15:23; 25:11) for effective reproof! How instructive is the pattern of our great Master! His silences and His answers were equally worthy of Himself.

A. W. PINK: Once more, in Proverbs 30:5 we read, “Every word of God is pure.” There is no admixture of error in God’s Word. In it there are no mistakes, no contradictions, no blemishes.


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Faith & Hope in Troublous Times

1 Kings 19:4-9

[Elijah] went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The question God puts to the prophet it, What doest thou here, Elijah? This is a reproof, for his fleeing hither. “What brings thee so far from home? Dost thou flee from Jezebel? Couldst thou not depend upon almighty power for thy protection?”

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): When the Lord interrogated him, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” he thought of nothing but his own services, and the sins of others: yea, when the question was repeated, he returned the same answer. How strange that he should not, on the repetition of the question especially, suspect himself, and acknowledge that he had come thither without any call or direction from his God!

MATTHEW HENRY: Lay the emphasis upon the pronoun thou. “What thou! So great a man, so great a prophet, so famed for resolution.”

CHARLES SIMEON: It is justly said of him, and most probably in reference to these very events, that “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are,” James 5:17. In this part of his history we behold, his unbelieving fear. On former occasions he had shewn great fortitude: he had just before dared to accuse Ahab to his face as “the troubler of Israel;” and to confront alone all the worshippers of Baal with four hundred and fifty of his prophets at their head: he had also put all those prophets to death, and then had accompanied Ahab to Jezreel: but now his faith failed him, and he doubted whether his God could protect him from the rage of Jezebel.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The best of men are only men at best…Is any reader of this paper disposed to be cast down and discouraged, because he loves Christ, and tries to serve Him, but finds himself almost entirely alone? Does your heart sometimes fail you, and your hands hang down, and your knees wax faint, because you so seldom meet any one whom you can pray with, and praise with, and read with, and talk with about Christ, and open your heart to without fear? Do you ever mourn in secret for want of company? Well, you are only drinking the cup which many have drunk before you. Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and Moses, and Samuel, and David, and the prophets, and Paul, and John, and the Apostles were all people who stood very much alone.  Do you expect to fare better than them?―Alas! there have always been many like you!

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Take a man like Jeremiah. All the false prophets were against him. There is a man who had to stand alone! Poor Jeremiah—how he hated and disliked it! He did not like being unpopular, he did not like standing on his own, and being ridiculed and laughed at, and spat upon, as it were; but he had the truth of God, and so he endured it all. He decided at times to say nothing, but the Word was like a fire in his bones, and he had to go on speaking it. Obloquy and abuse were heaped upon him, but it did not matter; he was God’s spokesman and God’s representative. Similarly Moses had to stand alone when he came down from the Mount where he had met God. To stand in isolation from one’s fellows, but with God, is the great doctrine of the Old Testament in many ways. And it is emphasized in the New Testament also.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): It is the easiest thing in the world to believe as everybody else believes, but the difficulty is to believe a thing alone, when no one else thinks as you think—to be the solitary champion of a righteous cause, when the enemy mustereth his thousands to the battle.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Was it not like that at the Protestant Reformation? What hope had that one man, Martin Luther, just an unknown monk?

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): I had utterly despaired had not Christ been Head of the Church―Every man must do things alone; he must do his own believing, he must do his own dying.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Faith and hope are the two poles on which all the Christian’s noble enterprises turn.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): We are apt to be discouraged under want of success, as if the sufficiency of the power was of ourselves, and not of God.

MATTHEW HENRY: Despair of success hinders many a good enterprise. No one is willing to venture alone, forgetting that those are not alone who have God with them.

J. C. RYLE: Stand fast, both in public and in private, even if you stand alone. But you will not stand alone.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We may depend upon it, that if we are on God’s side, God is on our side.

J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): There is an experience of Luther’s which is suggestive.

MARTIN LUTHER: At one time I was sorely vexed and tried by my own sinfulness, by the wickedness of the world, and by the dangers that beset the church. One morning I saw my wife dressed in mourning. Surprised, I asked her who had died.

“Do you not know?” she replied; “God is dead.”

“How can you talk such nonsense?” I said, “How can God die?”

“Is that really true?”

“Of course,” I said, not perceiving her aim. “How can you doubt it?”

“Yet,” she said, “though you do not doubt that, you are so helpless and discouraged.”

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): Hope is never ill when faith is well.

J. R. MILLER: Things were not as bad as Elijah thought.

CHARLES SIMEON: Elijah supposed himself to be the only one in Israel that maintained a regard for God; but God informed him that there were no less than seven thousand persons who had not yielded to the prevailing idolatry.


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Four Suicidal Chariots: Cowardice & Despair, Rebellion & Unbelief

1 Samuel 31:3-5

And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Saul thus desperately slew himself, lest he should be slain by the enemy. Seneca counts it a mercy to a man in misery that he may, by commiting suicide, let out his life when he will; and this he calls valour and manhood.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Seneca prescribes it as the last remedy which those that are in distress may have recourse to. The Stoics, notwithstanding their pretended conquest of the passions, yielded thus far to them. And the Epicureans, who indulged the pleasures of sense, to avoid its pains chose rather to put an end to it.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): There have been infidels in all ages who have advocated that it’s a justifiable means of release from trial and difficulty; yet thinking men, as far back as Aristotle, have generally condemned it as cowardly and unjustifiable under any conditions.

RICHARD ROGERS (1550-1618): If a wise man weigh it, there is more cowardliness in preventing troubles and crosses by violence, then enduring them patiently.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Saul was given up to the blackness of despair.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Such despair is not uncommon―indeed it is but too common for those who are bowed down with a load of worldly troubles, to seek relief in suicide.

J. C. PHILPOT (1802-1869): Is suicide a sin, or not?

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Thou shalt not kill,” Exodus 20:13. The words are better rendered, ‘thou shalt do no murder.’ And if we are not to murder others, then certainly not ourselves, so that suicide is here plainly and absolutely forbidden.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Suicide is self-murder, and is one of the most desperate crimes which can be committed.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): It is the most unnatural and barbarous kind of murder for a man to butcher himself…A man’s self is most near to him, therefore this sin of self-murder breaks both the law of God, and the bonds of nature―No creature but man willingly kills itself.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): Suicide, the refuge of defeated monarchs and praised by heathen moralists as heroic, was rare in Israel. The most rudimentary recognition of the truths taught by the Old Testament would prevent it.

D. L. MOODY: The Bible does not mention one single instance of a good man committing suicide. In the four thousand years of Old Testament history it records only four suicides, and only one suicide in the New Testament: Saul, king of Israel, and his armourbearer; Ahithophel; Zimri; and Judas Iscariot, are the five cases. Look at the references in the Bible to see what kind of men they were.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Zimri in rebellious madness threw himself into the flames, 1 Kings 16:18; Ahithophel and Judas “chose strangling rather than life,” 2 Samuel 17:23; Matthew 27:5.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We find [one more example]―Abimelech, a man who murdered his own brethren without compunction. “A certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to break his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armour bearer and said unto him, Draw your sword and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died,” Judges 9:53,54. Shame was too much for him. He would far rather meet the suicide’s death—for such it was.

D. L. MOODY: No man has a right to take his own life from such motives any more than the life of another.

CHARLES SIMEON: Men of this world have one method―as they think―of terminating their miseries, namely, by suicide. A poor and fatal “device” indeed! yet such as it is, they resort to it for relief.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): Despair is among the greatest crimes, and often ends in self-murder, a remedy still worse than the disease: for the deepest guilt there is mercy to be hoped, while life continues; but, when men fly from God to the devil for ease by suicide, they are undone for ever.

A. W. PINK: Inasmuch as this sin precludes repentance on the part of its perpetrator, it is beyond forgiveness―they destroy not only their bodies but their souls, too.

WILHELMUS à BRAKEL  (1635-1711): They renounce God, heaven, and hell, and imagine that with their death they will put an end to their unpleasant circumstances. This is the work of ungodly men, and is tantamount to plunging alive into hell and eternal damnation.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN: If Saul had had any faith in God, any submission, any repentance―he could not have finished a life of rebellion by a self-inflicted death, which was itself the very desperation of rebellion.

A. W. PINK: This, in itself, is quite sufficient in our judgment to settle the matter—the only ones mentioned in Scripture who directly took their own lives, were not believers—but unbelievers!

C. H. SPURGEON: Unbelief! It has sharpened the knife of the suicide! It has mixed many a cup of poison. Thousands it has brought to the halter and many to a shameful grave who have murdered themselves and rushed with bloody hands before their Creator’s tribunal because of unbelief!

J. C. PHILPOT: Is rebellion a sin, unbelief a sin, despair a sin? then suicide must be a sin of sins; for it is the last fruit, the highest summit of those sins. Can a man who commits it be said to die in faith, or hope, or love? Where is “receiving the end of faith, the salvation of the soul, ” if a man dies in unbelief, as a suicide must do? How can his hope be “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,” if it breaks in the storm? And where is love, when he bids defiance to the Almighty by breaking through the bounds of life and death which He has set?

MATTHEW HENRY: All the cautions of the Word of God against sin, and all appearances of it and approaches to it, have this tendency, “Do thyself no harm,” Acts 16:28.―“Man, woman, do not wrong thyself, nor ruin thyself; hurt not thyself, and then none else can hurt thee; do not sin, for nothing else can hurt thee.”

CHARLES SIMEON: Those who have no God to go to, often sink under their troubles, and not unfrequently seek refuge from them in suicide―But we have a God to go unto; a God who says, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee.” As for spiritual trouble, we are no more able to endure it than Judas was, who, from a sense of guilt, took refuge in suicide. If  “help were not laid upon One that is mighty,” upon One who says to us, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;” what hope could any one of us enjoy?


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Political Science 101 in King Solomon’s University

Proverbs 17:7; Proverbs 14:5

Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.

A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): This might seem to be a truism, unworthy of inspiration. But a closer inspection brings out a valuable maxim of practical wisdom. A faithful witness is moved neither by entreaties nor bribes, neither by promises nor threats, to swerve from truth. He is the man to trust. He will not lie. But a false witness has lost all principle of truth. He will utter lies, without any inducement but his own interest―“Much less do lying lips become a prince,” the minister and guardian of truth, Proverbs 16:10. Yet in a world where self reigns supreme, such inconsistencies are but too prevalent.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Lying ill becomes any man, but so corrupt is modern policy, which insinuates that princes ought not to make themselves slaves to their words further than is for their interest.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): I have heard that politicians can make use of a state lie—though the credit of it lasts but a little while—for great advantage to their designs.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Oh, how often we hear this brought up! You are told to regard the difference between right and wrong everywhere, except when you get into politics; then stick to your party through thick and thin. Right and wrong vanish at once. Loyalty to your leader—that is the point. Never mind where he leads you, follow him blindly. You are even told that you may do wrong because it is politically right. I hate such an argument!

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): A prince neither should speak lies himself, nor encourage them in others; but abhor them.

PHILIP MELANCTHON (1497-1560): Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight,” Proverbs 12:22. The Lord recommends to us the love and care of truth―for truth being among the chiefest and most conspicuous virtues, therefore the contrary vice is condemned by an expressive Hebrew word, תועבה―abomination: that is, such an evil as God detests with a singular indignation.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): In this place it may be proper to ask, What is a lie?

C. H. SPURGEON: It is deceit that dreads detection!

GEORGE SEATON BOWES (circa 1820’s-1880’s): When the question, “What is truth?” was proposed at a Deaf and Dumb Institution, one of the boys drew a straight line.

“And what is falsehood?”

The answer was a crooked line.

ADAM CLARKE: A lie is any action done, or word spoken, whether true or false in itself, which the doer or speaker wishes the observer or hearer to take in a contrary sense to that which he knows to be true. It is, in a word, any action done or speech delivered with the intention to deceive.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Diversified indeed are its forms—falsehood, exaggeration, coloring, willful perversion, wrong impressions produced or encouraged…A false witness does not always deal with open lying but with deceit—truth misrepresented, concealed and thus turned into falsehood. Thus was Doeg a false witness against the priests. He states the fact, but by suppression of circumstances gives a false impression, 1 Sameul 21:1-7; 1 Samuel 22:9-10.

ADAM CLARKE: [But some may say] ‘I have not told a lie; I have suppressed only a part of the truth.’

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): This kind of dishonesty is still dishonest.

H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): A half-truth is often a whole lie.

C. H. SPURGEON: Half the truth is a lie…When Abraham said to Abimelech, concerning his wife, “She is my sister,” Genesis 20:12, she was his sister, in a sense—there was some truth in what he said—but she was more than his sister—so he was uttering a lie for which he was rightly rebuked by the heathen prince!

THOMAS HUTTON (1856-1926): In a British Court of Law a witness is responsible before God “to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

CHARLES BRIDGES: In this view a strict attention to truth forms a primary point―the boundary line must never be trifled with―anything less than truth is a lie. Even if no one is deceived by it, a habit is fostered, of which we cannot tell to what it may grow. “He that is unfaithful in that which is least, is unfaithful also in much,” Luke 16:10. The indulgence of a lie soon banishes all fear of an oath. The careless liar, if occasion needs, scruples not to become a false witness.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): A lie is a snowball. The longer it is rolled on the ground, the larger it becomes.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): When a man is entangled in one lie, he is led of course to forge many more to support himself in it.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is a rule in the devil’s politics: “To cover sin with sin, in order to escape detection.”

CHARLES BRIDGES: Lying, even if it suits our purpose as an easy escape from difficulty is a miserable short-lived policy! “A lying tongue is but for a moment, Proverbs 12:19. And what will be the relief of this short moment under the tremendous wrath of God? God’s own people have always found this momentary escape from trouble to be followed by shame and confusion. The lie of the Gibeonites ended in their confusion, Joshua 9. The fruit of Gehazi’s lie was the pleasure for a moment. The shame endured unto the end, 2 Kings 5:25-27―None are so visibly blasted as those who make no conscience of a lie…With this sin were Ananias and Sapphira hurried into eternity, Acts 5:1-10. The willful liar proves his parentage, John 8:44, and will be classed in eternity with all that is hateful…His base means often bring him to shame on this side of the grave. But however this be, shame will be his “everlasting recompense.”

C. H. SPURGEON: But the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped,” Psalm 63:11. The mouths of liars will be stopped by the sexton with a shovel full of earth, if in no other way; for it seems as if some liars would never cease lying as long as they are alive. But every lying tongue in all the world shall be silent one day at the judgment bar of God.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Let not any think lightly of this sin: for so detestable is it in the sight of God, that He has given us this solemn warning, “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death,” Revelation 21:8

THOMAS COKE: A corrupted, lying, abusive, perverse tongue brings death to the soul.

THOMAS SCOTT (1747-1821): And as we must foresee the dreadful misery of all impenitent slanderers and liars, in the everlasting fire of hell; let us in meekness warn them of their danger, “if God peradventure will give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will,” 2 Timothy 2:25,26.


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How Can We Please God?

Hebrews 11:5,6

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): The beginning of a good and upright life is to know what is pleasing to God―if we wish to please God, we must see what He requires from us.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Faith is the beginning, that’s essential―Without faith, you can’t begin.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Everything is wrong where this principle is wanting.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The way to please God, then, is to believe in Him.

JOHN CALVIN: Men toil to no purpose, when they endeavour to please God without faith, because, by running, as it were, out of the course, they do not advance towards the goal―though men torment themselves wretchedly throughout their whole life, still they lose their pains, if they have not faith in Christ as the rule of their life.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): Faith, and not a multitude of separate acts, is what pleases God.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Enoch did please God: therefore it is clear that Enoch believed; and that his works, whatever they were, were the fruits of faith.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Faith is the mother of obedience.

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): Faith is the spring and cause of all obedience, and the obedience that is accepted with Him is the “obedience of faith,” Romans 16:26.

CHARLES SIMEON: It implies a desire and intention to please God. There is one canon, one universal rule of action, prescribed to us in the Scriptures―namely, that “whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we should do all to the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 10:31. Whatever therefore springs from other motives and principles, must argue a want of sincerity, in proportion as God’s honour is superseded by any selfish considerations. When Jehu, in compliance with God’s command, extirpated the family of Ahab, his obedience was not considered as sincere, because he was actuated rather by vainglory, than by a real desire to please God, 2 Kings 9:6,7; 2 Kings 10:16; and the blood that he shed in executing the divine command, was on that very account avenged by God himself upon his posterity, Hosea 1:4.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Not one that hath given up his name to Christ is allowedly a self-seeker; it is contrary to the foundation of true Christianity…We are not our own masters, nor our own proprietors—we are not at our own disposal. The business of our lives is not to please ourselves, but to please God.

CHARLES SIMEON: All, even the most refined hypocrites, are under the influence of self-seeking and self-complacency. But the true Christian endeavours to consult the glory of his God. He is as jealous of his motives, as of his actions. He knows that self is but too apt to mix with what we do; and therefore he labours to counteract its influence, and to do his most common actions to the glory of his God. To please God, to serve God, to honour God, these are the ends which he proposes to himself; nor is he ever satisfied with any one action which has not these objects as their true and ultimate scope.

JOHN CALVIN: Learn that whenever we ask what pleases God, we should bring a pure and sincere heart, so that nothing may prevent or hinder us immediately to embrace whatever God may command us.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): He who obeys sincerely endeavours to obey thoroughly.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): We must be entirely willing in all things to please God, or we utterly displease Him. Herod did many things, and was not a button the better. Jehu’s golden calves made an end of him, though he made an end of Baal’s worship. He that doth some, and not “all God’s will,” with David, Acts 13:22, in desire and affection at least, does but as Benhadad, recover of one disease, and die of another: yea, if he take not a better course for himself, he does but take pains to go to hell. Then shall we not be ashamed, when we have respect, at least, to all God’s commandments, Psalm 119:6.

THOMAS MANTON: Partial obedience is an argument of insincerity―obedience is counterfeit when it is not uniform.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Not only does God require obedience, but an obedience which issues from―is animated by―and is, an expression of love.

JOHN CALVIN: No man will actually obey God but he who loves Him.

ADAM CLARKE: Without love it will be impossible to obey. Faith and love are essentially necessary to holiness and sobriety.

THOMAS MANTON: Now in this pleasing of God there must be an avoiding of whatever is grievous and displeasing to Him…Secondly, there must be a constant care of those things God likes of, not only a declining of evil, but a doing of good.

CHARLES SIMEON: A desire to please God cannot but be associated with a fear of His Divine majesty.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): The more I love God, the more I shall fear Him, the more I shall dread to offend Him, the more I shall study to please Him, the more I shall ask, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

ALEXANDER MacLAREN: But there has to be something more. There has to be a firm resolve―and effort, without which the firmest resolve will all come to nothing, and be one more paving stone for the road that is “paved with good intentions.”

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Enoch “walked with God,” Genesis 5:22―You see, the full life of faith is described here; you get the whole basis in faith, you get this devotional aspect, this experimental aspect in experience―experiential aspect I should call it―and then, thirdly, you get this practical outworking.

EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): It is the natural tendency of the fear of God to preserve those who feel its influence from apostacy and declension. It leads them like Enoch to walk with God; to keep near to Him, to wait upon Him in the diligent use of all the appointed means of grace, and to guard against the first symptoms of declension―such, my friends, are the principal effects of the fear of God; and if we would walk in His fear, we must feel and exhibit these effects, not only occasionally, but habitually, and like David have respect to all God’s commandments, and be in the fear of God all the day long.

THOMAS MANTON: Elsewhere in Scripture the phrases of pleasing God and walking with God are joined, as Colossians 1:10—“That you may walk worthy of the Lord unto all well-pleasing.” Walking notes the fixing and the holding of a settled course in our lives, that our intention and main scope must be to please God, so 1 Thessalonians 4:1—“We beseech you,” saith the apostle, “as ye have received of us how you ought to walk, and to please God, so you would abound more and more.

CHARLES SIMEON: There will, it is true, be still “a law in their members warring against the law in their minds,” Romans 6:22,23. But the deliberate purpose of their hearts must be to please God; God only, God universally, God always.


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The Childish Character of Those Who Are Easily Deceived

Ephesians 4:14; Colossians 2:4

Be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.

And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Christian life is not child’s play.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Three characters you may observe among those who are most commonly seduced. One, they are called “simple” ones, Romans 16:18―such who mean well, but want wisdom to discern those who mean ill―incautious ones, that dare pledge everybody, and drink of any one’s cup, and never suspect poisoning. Two, they are called “children;” Three, they are such as are “unstable,” 2 Peter 2:14―such as are not well grounded and principled.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Children are easily imposed upon.

WILLIAM GURNALL: Children are very credulous, prone to believe every one that gives them a parcel of fair words. They think anything is good, if it be sweet. It is not hard to make them eat poison for sugar. They are not swayed by principles of their own, but by those of others. The child reads, construes, and parses his lesson as his master saith, and thinks it therefore right. Thus as poor creatures that have little knowledge of the Word themselves, they are easily persuaded this or that way, even as those of whom they have a good opinion please to lead them. Let the doctrine be but sweet, and it goes down glib. They, like Isaac, bless their opinions by feeling, not by sight. Hence many poor creatures applaud themselves so much of the joy they have found since they were of this judgement and that way. Not being able to try the comfort and sweetness they feel by the truth of their way from the Word, they are fain to believe the truth of it by their feeling, and so, poor creatures, they bless error for truth.

MATTHEW HENRY: We must take care of this, and of being tossed to and fro, like ships without ballast, and carried about, like clouds in the air, with such doctrines as have no truth nor solidity in them, but nevertheless spread themselves far and wide, and are therefore compared to wind.

WILLIAM GURNALL: They are such as are unstable―the truth they profess hath no anchor-hold in their understanding, and so they are at the mercy of the wind, soon set adrift, and carried down the stream of those opinions which are the favourites of the present time, and are most cried up—even as the dead fish with the current of the tide.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): There are some things in children in which it is reproachful for believers to be like them; as nonproficiency in knowledge, want of capacity to receive, bear, and digest strong meat; levity, fickleness, and inconstancy, unskilfulness in the Word, deficiency of knowledge, want of understanding, not of things natural, but spiritual and evangelical.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): You are commanded indeed in something to be like little children, but it is not to be understood with relation to knowledge and understanding.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men,” 1 Corinthians 14:20. Farther, lest the Corinthians should say in reply, that to be spiritually children, is elsewhere commended, as in Matthew 18:3,4, Paul anticipates this objection, and exhorts them, indeed, to be children in malice, but to beware of being children in understanding…Hence we infer how shameless a part those act, who make Christian simplicity to consist in ignorance.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Ignorance is the pedestal of pride.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): Ignorance of the Scriptures is the cause of high-mindedness in Christians. They are often arrogant and contemptuous through want of knowledge. In the absence of real knowledge, they often suppose that they have a true understanding of things with which they are still unacquainted, and are thus vain and conceited.

JOHN CALVIN: It is a common fault that ignorance is closely followed by obstinacy.

GEORGE SWINNOCK (1627-1673): Ignorance and confidence are often twins.

JOHN GILL: Which is the more aggravated, since their understandings were opened and enlightened; an understanding was given them; the Spirit of God, as a spirit of understanding, was bestowed on them; they had the Scriptures, which are able to make wise unto salvation, and the man of God perfect; and also the ministers of the Gospel to explain divine truths to them; and many had been a long time in the school of Christ, and might have been teachers of others; and yet; after all, were children in understanding, and needed to be taught the first principles of the oracles of God.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is,” Ephesians 5:17. That word “unwise” does not here signify bare ignorance or lack of knowledge, otherwise the two halves of the verse would merely express the same thought in its negative and positive forms. No, the word “unwise” there means “lacking in common sense,” or as the R.V. renders it “be not ye foolish.”

JOHN GILL: In understanding be men;” or “perfect,” of ripe and full age, who have their senses exercised to discern between good and evil;  גבר“a man,” says Aben Ezra, in our language, signifies מלא דעת, “one full of knowledge,” as in Exodus 10:11. It is not perfection of justification that is meant, for babes in Christ are as perfect in this sense as grown men; nor a perfection of sanctification, for there is no such thing in this life―but of knowledge and understanding in divine things; which though it is imperfect in the best, yet in some it is in greater perfection than in others; who may, in a comparative sense, be said to be perfect, or men of full age, who are arrived to a considerable ripeness and maturity of spiritual knowledge; and this is what believers should be pressing after, and desirous of, and make use of all proper methods, such as reading, hearing, and praying, to attain unto.

VERNON J. CHARLESWORTH (1839-1915): Entering the house of one of his congregation, Rowland Hill saw a child on a rocking-horse. “Dear me,” exclaimed the aged minister, “how wondrously like some Christians! there is motion, but  no progress.” The rocking-horse type of spiritual life is still characteristic of too many Church members in the present day.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Is it not a shame to have no more understanding at eighty than at eight years of age?

ROBERT HAWKER (1753-1827): It is a melancholy consideration, how many of God’s dear children continue weak, in point of understanding, and remain but as babes in Christ the greater part of their life. I cannot call that man, any other than a child, a mere babe in grace, who never gets beyond the doubts and fears, the ups and downs, of unbelief. A maturity, and ripeness in grace, is known, by an establishment, and firmness, in the faith and hope of God’s children.


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The 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation – 1517-2017: Political Liberty & Freedom of Speech, a Reformation Legacy

John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 3:17

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): The necessity of liberty for the Gospel, and of the Gospel for liberty, is now acknowledged by all thoughtful men.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): It is no exaggeration to say that the Protestant Reformation changed and turned the entire course of history, not only the history of the church, but secular history too.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The German princes gave support to it because of the political liberty which it promised them.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES:  How did the United States of America ever come into being? It would have never come into being were it not for the Protestant Reformation. The Puritan fathers who crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower were men who were products of the Reformation, and it was the desire not only for religious liberty, but also for democratic liberty, that drove them to face the hazards of crossing the Atlantic at that time and to establish a new life, a new state, and a new system of government in the New World. You cannot explain the story of the United States of America except in terms of the Protestant Reformation.

A. W. PINK: The scope of our present theme requires us to say at least a few words on the right of civil liberty.

One of the grand blessings won for us by the fierce battle of the Reformation was the right of private judgment―Every man has the right to think for himself and express his thoughts on political, moral and spiritual matters, without being subject to any civil, or ecclesiastical penalty, or inconvenience on that account. Conversely, no man is entitled to force his ideas upon others and demand that they subscribe thereto, still less to propagate them to the disturbing of the public peace. This is a truth which needs proclaiming and insisting upon today, not only because of the widespread apathy towards taking a firm stand for the same, but because the dearly bought liberties which have for so many years been enjoyed by those living in the English-speaking world are now in danger of being filched from them.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): We breathe the air of civil liberty―It cost our forefathers many struggles to bring forward and establish this national blessing; but we have enjoyed it so long, and so quietly, that we seem almost to forget its value, how it was obtained, or how only it can be preserved.

ISAAC BACKUS (1724-1806): In our colleges many learn corrupt principles.

A. W. PINK: A considerable majority of the present generation are largely, if not wholly unaware—so ignorant are they of history—that for centuries, even in Britain, civil liberty and the right of private judgment upon spiritual things were denied the masses by both State and Church, politicians and prelates alike lording it over the people. Nor was their tyrannical dominion easily or quickly broken: only after much suffering and a protracted fight was full freedom secured. Alas, that such a dearly bought and hard-won privilege should now be regarded so lightly and be in real danger of being lost again.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): The utterance of a man’s thoughts must no more be stopped by the stern interdict of the law, than the utterance of his breath.

CHARLES HODGE (1797-1878): It is often necessary to assert our Christian liberty at the expense of incurring censure and offending good men in order that right principles of duty may be preserved. Our Saviour consented to be regarded as a Sabbath-breaker and even a “wine-bibber” and “friend of publicans and sinners;” but wisdom was justified of her children. Christ did not in those cases see fit to accommodate His conduct to the rules of duty set up and conscientiously regarded as correct by those around Him.*

A. W. PINK: Love is not to oust liberty. The exercise of love does not require the Christian to yield principle, to wound his own conscience, or to become the slave of every fanatic he meets.*

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Liberty of conscience. The state must never tyrannize over my conscience…We are to be subject to the higher powers until they in any way come between us and our loyalty to God Himself, and His commandments to us.

A. W. PINK: God’s authoritative Word forbids me doing anything which He has prohibited or which is morally wrong―that a child of God must refuse to do the bidding of a government when it enjoins something contrary to the Divine will is clear from the case of the three Hebrews, Daniel 3:18, and of Daniel in Babylon, Daniel 5:10-13, who firmly declined to conform unto the king’s idolatrous demands. It is equally evident from the case of the apostles, who, when they were commanded by the authorities “not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus,” answered “whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye,” Acts 4:19, 5:29. Yet note well that, while insisting upon their spiritual rights, neither did any of them defend themselves or their cause by resorting to violence…It may be said that this is a dangerous doctrine, that it is likely to lead to disorder and insurrection. Not so where the two parts of it be maintained: the right to refuse only when something is demanded which God’s Word forbids, and the duty of meekly submitting to the penalty thereof—the latter will check a misuse of the former.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Now this has been a great principle down through the ages, and on which Christian people have often stood.

A. W. PINK: A further question needs considering at this point: Who is to be the judge of which decrees of a government are sinful? Obviously, in the last resort, the citizen himself. That is the scriptural and Protestant doctrine of the right of private judgment: to test what the law of the land requires by the Divine Law―If any form of government insists upon being the absolute judge of its own case, then there is an end of personal independence and freedom.

JOHN NEWTON: Civil liberty is a deposit with which we are intrusted for posterity, and, by all lawful means, should be carefully preserved.

A. W. PINK: Under no conceivable circumstances should any man relinquish the right to think and decide for himself. His reason, will and conscience are Divine gifts, and God holds him responsible for the right use of them. But as it is with so many other of His favours, this one is not valued at its true worth and soon may not be prized at all unless it be entirely removed and there be a return to the bondage of the “dark ages.”

AUGUSTUS TOPLADY (1713-1778): Despotism has ever proved an insatiable gulf. Throw ever so much into it, it would still yearn for more.* Were liberty to perish from any part of the English speaking world, the whole would soon be deluged by the black sea of arbitrary power.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Well, whatever your views may be, you will have to admit that the Protestant Reformation was one of the most historical phenomenon that has ever taken place―that is a fact of history―the Reformation gave life-blood to the whole democratic notion in the realm of politics, and the consequences, as judged from a social, and from a moral standpoint, simply baffle description.


*Editor’s Note: Political Correctness is the language of modern day despotism.  It is the active enemy of free speech, political liberty, and the truth of the Bible.


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Angelic Ministrations of Care & Comfort

Luke 4:1,2; Luke 4:13; Matthew 4:11

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him.

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): They came to Him in a visible, human form, as they were used to do under the Old Testament dispensation, and that after the temptation was over―after Satan was foiled, and was gone―that it might appear that Christ alone had got the victory over him, without any help or assistance from them. When they were come, they “ministered to Him.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Perhaps food to His body, as once to Elias, 1 Kings 19:5, 6; but certainly comfort to His soul, as to Jacob, Hagar, Daniel, Zacharias, Joseph, Cornelius, and Paul…Though they do not often vocally express it, they do pity our human frailties, and secretly suggest comfort to us, when we perceive it not.

JOHN GILL: Thus, as the angels are “ministering spirits” to the heirs of salvation, both in a temporal and in a spiritual sense, Hebrews 1:14, so they were to Christ.

JOHN TRAPP: Christ indeed was not comforted by them till the temptation was over; but to us they minister, many times, in the hour of temptation.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): On many occasions we find angels employed by God to execute His purposes respecting men. Sometimes they have been sent as executioners of His judgments; but most generally as dispensers of some special mercy.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The angels are sometimes used by God to cheer us, and to give us comfort and consolation; for the apostle Paul tells his companions on that ship, you remember, that was already in a shipwrecked condition―“for there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul,” and he told him certain things, Acts 77:22-24. The angel was sent by God in order to cheer up the apostle.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): What was the happy hour in which the angel knocked at Daniel’s door to let him know how God loved him? Was it not when he was knocking at heaven’s door by his prayer? “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee, for thou art greatly beloved,” Daniel 9:23.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Not only that, but we find that the angels are used in protecting us. Do you remember the 91st Psalm, verses ten and eleven? “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Do you remember Daniel being cast into that cage with the lions? Yet he came out quite unscathed, and here is his explanation of it: “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me,” Daniel 6:22…And there is very little doubt that it was the angels who enabled that poor, unhappy, miserable, pessimistic servant of Elisha to realize that though the enemy was coming with great might to attack them, that they were also surrounded by an unseen host that would destroy the enemy, 2 Kings 6:17.

JOHN TRAPP: They have power over the devils to restrain them; and―though invisibly and insensibly―are as ready to help and comfort us as the evil angels to tempt and trouble us: else were not our protection equal to our danger, and we could neither stand nor rise.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: But the angels are also used by God to give us deliverance. Do you remember that in the 12th chapter of Acts, we read of Peter being arrested and thrown into prison?  And do you remember what happened to him? “And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.” Then the angel went and opened doors and gates, and Peter simply follows the angel. He was delivered from prison through the means of an angel.

JOHN TRAPP: Socrates and Theodoret tell us of one Theodorus, a martyr, put to extreme torments by Julian the apostate, and dismissed again by him, when he saw him unconquerable. Ruffinus tells us that he met with this martyr, a long time after this trial, and asked him, “whether the pain he felt were not insufferable?” He answered, “that at first it was somewhat grievous; but after a while, there seemed to stand by him a young man in white, who with a soft handkerchief wiped off the sweat of his body and bade him be of good cheer.” Insomuch as that it was rather a punishment than a pleasure to him to be taken off the rack, since, when the tormentors had done, the angel was gone―and how many unspeakable comforts ministered the good angels to [other] martyrs in their prisons, at the stake, and in the fire!

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): How angels thus keep us we cannot tell. Whether they repel demons, counteract spiritual plots, or even ward off the subtler physical forces of disease, we do not know. Perhaps we shall one day stand amazed at the multiplied services which the unseen bands have rendered to us.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Now all that is very marvelous and very wonderful, isn’t it? That’s what the angels do for us while we’re in this life. But now I am going to say something that I trust may give great comfort and consolation to many people who may have been looking forward perhaps to the end of their life in this world with fear, and dread, and terror, and alarm, afraid of the physical aspect of death. My dear friend, you needn’t be, for I read in Luke 16:22 this: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): As soon as saints are cut down by death, they fall into the hands and bosoms of the angels of God, who bear them in their arms and bosoms to their Father. For look, as these blessed spirits did rejoice at their conversion, Luke 5:10, and thought it no dishonour to minister them, so when they are cut down by death, they will rejoice to be their convoy to heaven.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: And when you come to die, they’ll be there to receive your spirit, and to take it to paradise. That’s the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Never again, Christian people, imagine that when you come to die, you’ll be going in some awful loneliness as a disembodied spirit to an unknown. Not at all. The angels of God will be there to receive you, and to conduct you, and to take you to be with the Lord in paradise.  What a wonderful thing!


Editor’s Note: Today’s post is the 500th post published on the Bible Truth Chat Room. But far more importantly, 2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Beginning next week, and during the remainder of this year, occasionally we hope to publish some posts to commemorate that Anniversary. And let us all pray that God will revive His Church in our own day, confound the spiritual enemies of Jesus Christ and His truth, and once again put them to flight by another mighty Reformation.


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The Everlasting Love of God the Father

Matthew 6:9

Our Father which art in heaven.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): It was not without meaning that He taught us when we pray to say, “Our Father.”

ROBERT HAWKER (1753-1827): Do earthly parents love to hear the voice of their little ones, as soon as they can lisp out father? And will not our heavenly Father be pleased with the name, when taught by the Spirit to call Him “Abba, Father,” Romans 8:15?

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): There is more eloquence in that word, “Abba, Father,” than in all the orations of Demosthenes or Cicero put together.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): The conception of the Divine nature is no doubt infinitely deepened, made more tender and more lofty, by the thought of the Fatherhood of God―Fatherhood! what does that word itself teach us? It speaks of the communication of a life, and the reciprocity of love. It rests upon a Divine act, and it involves a human emotion. It involves that the father and the child shall have kindred life―the father bestowing and the child possessing a life which is derived; and because derived, kindred; and because kindred, unfolding itself in likeness to the father that gave it.

C. H. SPURGEON: This relationship also involves love. If God is my Father, He loves me.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): That you may see God’s fatherly love to His children, consider, God makes a precious valuation of them. “Since thou wast precious in my sight,” Isaiah 43:4. A father prizes his child above his jewels. Their names are precious, for they have God’s own name written upon them: “I will write upon him the name of my God,” Revelation 3:12. He has bowels of affections towards us.

ROBERT HAWKER: What dearness of affection must they stand in to God, when Jesus Himself, speaking to the Father concerning them, saith: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou, hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me,” John 17:23―and, in what a high sense, God’s children, yea, God’s dear children so loved, may be.

THOMAS WATSON: He delights in their company. He loves to see their faces, and hear their voices, Song of Solomon 2:14. He cannot refrain long from their company; let but two or three of His children meet and pray together, He will be sure to be among them. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—there am I in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:20.

C. H. SPURGEON: Now, we cannot truly cry unto God, “Abba, Father,” without, at the same time, feeling, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,” 1 John 3:1…As loving children we feel a holy awe and reverence as we realize our relationship to Him who is our Father in Heaven—a clear, loving, tender, pitiful Father.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): If earthly parents, especially, look after their children when weak, much more our heavenly Father.

THOMAS WATSON: He bears his children in His bosom, as a nursing father does the sucking child, Numbers 11:12; Isaiah 46:4. To be carried in God’s bosom shows how near His children lie to His heart—If God is our Father, He will be full of sympathy towards His children. “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him,” Psalm 103:13…If it is so unnatural for an earthly father not to love his child, can we think God can be defective in His love?

C. H. SPURGEON: Some will have it that God’s people may sin, partially and finally, so as never to be the Lord’s Beloved again. They say they can sin themselves out of the Covenant. But we have not so learned Christ, neither have we so understood the Fatherhood of our God.

THOMAS WATSON: The Arminians hold falling away from grace, so that a child of God may be deprived of his inheritance. But God’s children can never be degraded or disinherited, and their heavenly Father will not cast them off from being His children. It is evident that God’s children cannot be finally disinherited, by virtue of the eternal decree of heaven…That decree ties the knot of adoption so fast, that neither sin, death, nor hell, can break it asunder. “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified,” Romans 8:30.

C. H. SPURGEON: Whom once He loves, He never leaves, but loves them to the end. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” on His part towards His people…No, it is not, “I will strike their names out of the Book of Life.” It is not, “I will disinherit them, seeing they have proved unfaithful to Me,” but, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely,” Hosea 14:4—that is to say, “whatever their sin may have been I will overcome it, I will drive it out, I will restore them to their first condition of health. I will do more, I will so heal them that one day without spot or wrinkle or any such thing they shall see their Father’s face.”

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” Luke 12:32. God is on their side, and will not leave, nor forsake them.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): It is not the will of our heavenly Father that the least and meanest believer should perish, Matthew 18:14.

THOMAS WATSON: Besides God’s decree, He has engaged Himself by promise, that the heirs of heaven shall never be put out of their inheritance. “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me,” Jeremiah 32:40. God’s fidelity, which is the richest pearl of His crown, is engaged in this promise for His children’s perseverance. A child of God cannot fall away while he is held fast in these two arms of God—His love, and His faithfulness.

THOMAS LYE (1621-1684): When our heavenly Father is, as it were, forced to put forth His anger, He then makes use of a father’s rod, not an executioner’s axe. He will neither break His children’s bones, nor His own covenant.

THOMAS WATSON: He loves His children with the same love as He loves Christ, John 17:26. It is the same love, for the unchangeableness of it. God will no more cease to love His adopted sons than He will to love Christ, His Son.

C. H. SPURGEON: If we ever did, in truth, call God “Father,” we shall always be able to use that blessed title, for the relationship of fatherhood is not a temporary one, and cannot come to an end…A man cannot get rid of fatherhood by any possible means. Yes, though my boy should transgress and dishonor his father’s name, yet I am still his father. There is no getting out of this relationship by any conceivable method and so, if, indeed, the Lord is unto you a Father, He will always give you a father’s love. In your adoption and regeneration the Lord has avowed Himself to be your Father and has virtually said, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” Jeremiah 31:3.


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Parades of Pride, Glorying in Their Shame

Isaiah 3:9; Romans 1:26-28; Philippians 3:19

They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): There is such a thing as judicial blindness. If men can see, and yet will not see, God is at last so provoked by their wickedness that He takes away the light altogether, and removes from them the very faculty of sight.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): They will not receive the love of the truth―and for this cause God delivers them up to strong delusions, vile affections, base and beastly practices; as committing and defending of sodomy, and such like abhorred filth, not once to be named among Christians.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): They who are slaves to their lusts are the worst of slaves, and stop at nothing to gratify them.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Many rush into such excesses of lasciviousness, as to glory in their shame.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Though the world always lies in wickedness, yet there are some times in which it may be said, that iniquity doth in a special manner abound; as when it is more extensive than ordinary, as in the old world, when “all flesh had corrupted his way,” Genesis 6:12; and when it is more excessive than ordinary…When wickedness abounds, and goes barefaced, under the protection and countenance of those in authority―who, instead of putting the laws in execution against vice and injustice and punishing the wicked according to their merits, patronize and protect them, give them countenance, and support their reputation by their own example―then “the wicked walk on every side,” Psalms 12:8; they swarm in all places, and go up and down seeking to deceive, debauch, and destroy others; they are neither afraid nor ashamed to discover themselves; they declare their sin as Sodom and there is none to check or control them.

JOHN TRAPP:  Now may they do what they will―for no man must find fault; and they are glad of this.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): They glory in their iniquity. This is the highest pitch of ungodliness.

JOHN CALVIN: Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time,” Amos 5:3. When therefore Amos says, that the time would be evil, he means, that such audacity would prevail, that all liberty would be denied to wise men. They would then be forced to be silent, for they could effect nothing by speaking, nay, they would have no freedom of speech allowed them: and though they attempted to discharge their office, yet tyrannical violence would instantly impose silence on them. Similar was the case with Lot―he was constrained, I have no doubt, to be silent after having often used free reproofs; nay, he doubtless exposed himself to many dangers by his attempts to reprove the Sodomites. Such seems to me to be the meaning of the Prophet, when he says, that the prudent would be silent, because these tyrants would impose silence on all teachers—visiting them with some punishment, or loading them with reproaches, or treating them with ridicule as persons worthy of contempt.

C. H. SPURGEON: Sodomites cannot have much love for righteous men…They do the same today.

JOHN CALVIN: But we must see how Sodom rushed forward to that degree of licentiousness so as to be horrified by no enormity. God says that they began by pride, Ezekiel 16:49―and surely pride is the mother of all contempt of God and of all cruelty.

MATTHEW HENRY: It was the pride of the Sodomites that they despised righteous Lot, and would not bear to be reproved by him; and this ripened them for ruin.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Their pride, and wantonness, and impiety manifestly shows itself in their very looks and carriages, and will be swift witness against them both before God and men. They declare their sin; they act it publicly, casting off all fear of God, and reverence to men, and they glory in it. They hide it not, as men do who have any remainders of modesty or ingenuity.

C. H. SPURGEON: Deep is our shame when we know that our judges are not clear in this matter, but social purity has been put to the blush by magistrates of no mean degree.

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): Nay, we glory in this as “progress,” “culture,” and “enlightenment,” as freedom from the bigotry of other centuries and the narrowness of our half-enlightened ancestors.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The problem is not so much immorality but the total absence of morality—amorality, a tendency to doubt all types of moral standards. Indeed, some would go so far as to say that all those who acknowledge moral standards live an incomplete life and do an injustice to their personalities. These people claim that what was once called sin is nothing but self-expression. The old foundations are being shaken, and the old boundaries and hedges are being swept away…This has become an amoral or a non-moral society. The very category of morality is not recognized at all, and men and women are virtually in the position of saying “evil be thou my good.”

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): But I would affectionately remind them, that confidence in error will not make error cease to be what it is; and that a pertinacity in error may cause God to give them over to judicial blindness and hardness. We read that God gives over some “to a strong delusion, to believe a lie, that they may be damned, because they believe not the truth, but obey unrighteousness,” 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12. Their “believing a lie” does not make it true; nor does its being “a delusion” prevent their being “damned” for yielding to it.

JOHN CALVIN: We may further observe, that men have then advanced to the extremity of evil, when reception is no more given to sound doctrine and salutary counsels, and when all liberty is sternly suppressed, so that prudent men dare not to reprove vices, however rampant they may be, which even children observe, and the blind feel. When licentiousness has arrived to this pitch, it is certain that the state of things is past recovery and that there is no hope of repentance or of a better condition.

MATTHEW HENRY: When wickedness has come to the height, ruin is not far off. Abounding sins are sure presages of approaching judgments.


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